Wallace’s parents were ‘complete scum. Utter white trash. Sexual abusers. Alcoholics. Drug addicts’. He and his siblings were placed in foster care in New South Wales in the early 1970s, when Wallace was two years old.
The first foster family Wallace stayed with were ‘scum too. They were child molesters and alcoholics … very rough people’. Being sexually abused by his foster father when he was about three years old is Wallace’s first memory. ‘Disturbing … I don’t want to go into it.’
Wallace went to live with another foster family in regional New South Wales. The Gardiner family were ‘very good. Took me in and treated me as an equal and gave me a lot of love and caring’. Except for two weeks, Wallace lived with the Gardiners until he was 18. He regards them as his family.
When he was eight or nine, the welfare department ordered that Wallace return to his biological family.
‘I told everyone that listened, that I could speak to, that I did not want to go back to that family, because to me, they weren’t my family. They were strangers, complete strangers … They ended up sending me back there and that’s when I was abused again.’
During the two weeks he spent with his family, Wallace was sexually abused by his older brother. At the end of the two weeks, the welfare department told him he had to choose whether to stay with his family or return to his foster family. He chose his foster family. ‘It was a wise decision. “I don’t know why the fuck you sent me down there in the first place". It fucked my life.’
Wallace has spent his whole life feeling hatred towards his abusers and towards authority. ‘Hatred … to the people in power [that] put me back in there because … I told everyone, everyone that would listen to me, everyone, every fucking one, that I did not want to go back to this fucking family. I told everyone, everyone, ev-er-y-one. And you made me go back.’
Wallace suffers from depression and he has self-harmed. ‘I was there one time at the kitchen table by myself and I was in a really bad mental space. Things were really bad for me. I picked up a fucking carving knife. I [slashed] myself down to the fucking wrists … because I can’t get over it. There’s no way in the world you can explain … what happened to me, because there’s no way I’m going to get over it.’
Wallace is currently serving a prison term for a drug-related crime. He’s been in jail before and believes that he will return. ‘I’ve been in the drug scene all my life, since I was 13. I’ve always been into it.’ When he is released from jail he has been ordered to enter rehab. He has been to rehab before, but found it a ‘waste of fucking time’.
Although Wallace has had counselling in the past, he does not believe it works for him. ‘I’m open to a different way of thinking or a different approach, but what’s done’s done. No way of saying this or this or that is going to fucking help, is it? What’s done is done … Counselling’s never gonna help me.’
Wallace told the Commissioner that the thing that has kept him going is that, ‘I’m a bit of a Buddhist really, because I believe in reincarnation, and if I kill myself I’m just going to have to come back and do it all again … and fuck that’.