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Stan Adam's story

Stan's father wanted him to become a lawyer. Stan came from an educated family that ran agriculture-related businesses in the Northern Territory. However, Stan, now in his 40s, spent very little time in high school. He had been regularly abused over a three-year period by his former primary school teacher.

Greg Murphy, then in his late 20s, became Stan's class teacher when Stan was nine years old. Stan can remember being forced to spend a lot of time with Murphy in and outside of school. Stan described the abuse as 'everything'. For example, he can remember Murphy 'soaping [him] up for anal sex' as well as forcing him to perform oral sex in the playground.

Murphy would ring Stan's family home. 'He'd ring up there. I remember he used to ring up a bit and ask if it was alright if I went with him to – he'd probably tell her [Mum] "home studies" or a "project" or something like that, you know. Then he'd pull up and pick me up out front.'

The abuse continued for three years. 'I knew it was wrong.'

However, Stan didn't tell anyone as Murphy said it was Stan's fault and threatened him, saying he would abuse his brother and friends if Stan said anything.

'The teachers knew about it. There was a few teachers that knew about it. But they weren't – it couldn't go to them. It was like they knew what was happening to me but I was looked at like – can I say what I want? I was looked at like I was a piece of shit. Right? I was smacked up the back there all the time. I was tamed. … Even his own wife knew. Everyone. There was no one I could go to.'

Stan also felt that if he told his father he would be blamed and his father would 'flog the shit out of me'. The abuse only stopped when the family moved to another town.

The abuse affected Stan's schoolwork. 'Me attitude and everything. I played up, you know. I didn't like teachers. I hated teachers. I play up on them all the time. I didn't want to go to school. Just didn't want to do it.' He was constantly wagging.

'I seen him drive around with other kids too, you know. That’s still stuck in me head.'

When asked about his high school years, Stan said 'Oh no good mate. No good. No I went to high school [until] Second Form of high school, then I ended up out west on a property. … So I ended up staying out there for the next four, five years or something – on and off'.

Stan feels the abuse meant he missed out on the chance of a good education. 'I was smart. I was pretty good, mate. I was top of the class, like, in mathematics – all sorts of stuff, mate, I was very good.'

He abused alcohol and marijuana, which he believes affected his relationships. But that's not all that has done so. 'Every relationship that I've been in, I've always fronted up later on and told them what's happened to me, you know. I've always said it but once I've said it, it [the relationship] seems to just die. Plus the [muscular condition] and that too, doesn't help with it.'

As a child, Stan developed a muscular condition which he has to this day. As a teenager he was taken for psychiatric help and given a brain scan. He didn't disclose the abuse and his condition was dismissed. But his condition gets worse when Stan talks about the childhood abuse. 'For some reason, if I think about that it's just, it's just bloody bad.'

He had to give up his most recent job 12 months ago, because he wasn't able to sit still. 'I feel sick. I feel sick … it's something that's stuck with me for the rest of me life. I just can't stop it.' He is now on unemployment benefits. 'It's uncomfortable mate. It's uncomfortable.'

Stan has never told his mother about the abuse but, shortly after contacting the Royal Commission, he told his brother. 'He said "I knew. … I knew something was going on. Seen you driving around in the car with him … and I woke up there one night and … you weren't there … I knew where you were".'

Stan was willing to have Murphy reported to the police as he has been concerned Murphy could be attacking other children.

Twice, Stan has seen lawyers and filled out forms with the intention of suing the Department of Education. But both times, he has not followed through as he thought 'it's all for the wrong reason, what they're doing'. He doesn't want money. He wants help. He wants to fix his muscular condition.

'I want to get my life back together, mate … I just want help, mate.'

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