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Viggo's story

‘I didn’t understand it. For a lot of years I suppressed all that. Even now sometimes I think it was just a dream, like it didn’t really happen.’

Viggo’s father was a ‘bit of a drinker’ and used to hit his son regularly. Their relationship was poor. The family moved around quite a lot when Viggo was little. In the early 1980s, when Viggo was 13, he started at a high school in Newcastle run by the Marist Brothers. There he met Brother Alexander.

‘At first he seemed pretty casual, pretty friendly, always willing to help, always had a smile on his face’, Viggo told the Commissioner. But then Viggo hurt his back in a PE class. He was sent inside to see Brother Alexander for some first aid.

‘He started to rub me back, and then he started grabbing me and pressing himself against me and I just started to – I just froze. I think it only stopped when we heard someone coming down the corridor.’

‘Grabbing me on the penis, pressing himself against me. Why the hell did he want to do that?’

‘After that time he tried to get me back in the classroom … asking me to come in when there was no one else around. I wouldn’t do it.’ Alexander threatened Viggo with expulsion to keep him quiet. He told Viggo no one would believe him if he spoke up.

‘Me life at home wasn’t the best anyway. I couldn’t talk to anyone … couldn’t sit down and talk to them and say, “this happened”, because for one thing I didn’t really know how to express myself then.’

Viggo began having problems at school. ‘I became a lot more distant with people. I just wanted to self-destruct. I just wanted to experiment on new things. I just wanted to get off my head all the time.’ He began drinking and using marijuana. ‘Drugs were a way out.’

In Year 10 Viggo was suspended from school for fighting. ‘The bloke wasn’t even doing anything. I just got him and started hitting him.’ Viggo quit school and found a job.

Viggo was 15. One weekend his boss, Ian, asked him around to watch a movie and stay the night. ‘I didn’t think nothing of it … I watched a couple of videos and went to bed. All of a sudden - he’s on top of me, and the same thing happened again.’

‘You put your trust in people and all this kind of shit happens, they take advantage of you. I don’t know why. What did I do to bring that shit on?’

Viggo’s problems with drugs and alcohol increased, and he found himself on the street at times, reliant on charities for meals. He fell into crime, and spent time in a boys’ home. His short temper did not improve, and his crimes became more violent.

Viggo was almost glad when he was jailed for a long stretch in his mid-20s. ‘I wanted to work out why things were happening to me.’ He began a ‘heavy duty therapy program’ in prison, which focused on anger management and explored the troubled relationship with his father. Throughout this Viggo chose not to disclose his childhood sexual abuse. ‘I just wasn’t brave enough to talk about that particular trauma in my life.’

‘Even though I suppressed it, it was always in my mind. Always.’

Viggo was prompted by the Royal Commission to finally share his story, 35 years on. ‘I guess I’d just had enough. Why should people like that be entrusted with kids and be allowed to continue with all that kind of shit?’

He would like to see better teaching of protective behaviours for primary school children, ‘just to make ‘em aware that there are people out there who haven’t got their best interests at heart’.

Viggo is keen to turn around his own life. ‘I haven’t even done jay-walking now. I just want to do no crime, to work and just to try and get my life sorted out.’

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