When I was a child, I lived next door to a police man whom was considered an upstanding man in our little South Australian street. I was best friends with his daughter who was only a few weeks older than I was and everyone presumed that I was safe to go over there all the time when he was home, he’d protect us. After all, he was a cop, he went to the school down the road to teach us children about stranger danger and what to look out for.
What people didn’t know, it wasn’t the stranger they needed to be afraid of. The wolf was in sheeps clothing.
My earliest memory of what he did to me is 3 years old. There could be earlier, because when I look back at my childhood, he is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS.
His daughter and I would play hide and seek and he would tell her that his bedroom was off limits, but would take me to hide in there, in his bed, in the closet, in the ensuite. Another time the cubby house was off limits, I don’t remember much of the cubby house but I loathe the smell of white board texta’s because there was a white board in there. I remember his breath, his weight on me, I remember there was a gun in his house somewhere and I remember saying ‘yes, I liked it’ every time he asked me because I was scared of saying no. You didn’t say no to adults and especially not police men. Especially not your ‘uncle’.
We moved away from the area when I was 6… but I’d go back back for frequent visits, after all his daughter was my best friend and one day at 9, something in me snapped. NO I DON’T LIKE IT. I shouted it at him and he stopped touching me, I crawled out the bed, got my clothes on and… I don’t remember what I did after that, just… demanded my pa was called to come and get me, I wanted to go back to my grandparents (where I was staying for the visit.)
I remember feeling like I had done something wrong, that, I was wrong to say no, that I should have let him continue. I remember feeling… I was naughty.
When I got home, all the way home, a few months after my friends and I were talking about sex and I mentioned I’d had sex (I was 10 at this point) and my friend freaked out. Her mother had been raped as a girl and told her so many things, told her it was okay to say no, so she knew what I told her was stuffed up for lack of a better word.
She took me to talk to her mum because I was too afraid to tell my own, afraid she was going to be angry at me for saying no to my ‘uncle’ or for letting it happen. My mothers friend told me it wasn’t my fault and I had to tell my mother. I had to let her know.
Telling my mother sucked.
She fell apart and blamed herself for letting me see him, sleep over there… she hated that she thought they could trust this man and he had betrayed that.
They took me to report it but nothing ever came from it, the other girls that had been abused by him backed out and it never went further than a report.
He ended up leaving the police force and became a security guard at the Adelaide Uni to PROTECT girls from assault. I can’t help but feel he was assaulting them.
Now, he’s trying to become a politician.
I can’t help but feel I have failed so many girls by not being able to get him locked up.
I tried to reopen the case but they said they couldn’t. It sucks.
I try and survive. I am 33 now and it is still really hard somedays. My husband knows and is great usually but even then, the PTSD and depression and the likes can get too much for both of us.
I am using my experience to try and do good though, we foster children from abuse backgrounds, they don’t know my story and they never will but I can use my experience to empathize with their struggles and hopefully give them the best care I can.
— Survivor, age 33