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"The hardest part wasn't my brother's abuse... it's that it was covered up."

 

The cast of Hey Dad! appear on A Current Affair 

Warning: This post features explicit details of child sexual abuse that could be triggering for some readers.

Okay, the time has finally come. It’s time I raised my voice about child sex abuse.

Ten minutes ago, I read Bec Sparrow’s article recapping the interview with cast members of the 1980’s sitcom, Hey Dad!, which aired on A Current Affair last night, about the recent prosecution of Robert Hughes.  Bec’s article left me vigorously nodding my head in agreement and whooping for joy for her honesty and compassion.  The courage of Ben Oxenbould, Simone Buchanan and Sarah Monahan for speaking up and exposing Robert Hughes for the evil paedohpile he is, is empowering. Though, Bec stumbled upon an issue – not just child sex abuse  – which is infecting society and is only growing larger;

“At first I thought this story was about the TV industry. But it’s not. Because the covering up of child sexual abuse is everywhere.  In the army. The church.  Sporting associations.  Schools. Families.  Everywhere there are people turning a blind eye. Looking away. Pretending not to notice that a child is being molested.”

Child abuse was and is still being covered up.

And, how do I know that?  Because, between the ages of ten and twelve, my brother was sexually abused.  Though, what is atypical to many child sex abuse cases was that my brother was being molested by other little boys in his class.

For almost one year, my little brother was sexually tortured by these boys, foreign objects being shoved up his bottom, groping and abusing his penis; he was daily being molested. These despicable acts did not only occur in sports lockers or in the toilets, but in class rooms, under desks and on sporting fields where people could see and hear his cries, though they just didn’t bother to watch or listen.

After nearly a year of suffering through the abuse being committed to him, my brother courageously spoke up to my mum.  Though, this is not an article only about the sex abuse which my brother endured.

This is about how it was covered up.

A child should feel safe at school. So why was no one willing to help this reader’s brother?

The school was promptly alerted to the concerning problems taking place and their first reaction was to call all the perpetrating boys into the school office and question their involvement.  Surprisingly, they all admitted to sexual abusing my brother.  One of them, the main offender, was proud as punch.

Furthermore, the school confessed that this primary, perpetrating boy had been expelled from his previous school for the same actions.  That he had been reported for exposing himself to neighbours and other school friends.  That still, despite the fact that this boy was a known sexual predator, he was accepted on a full scholarship to their prestigious private all-boys school.

When my mother called for answers or some sort of justice for her son, the school answered with “well, you must understand that boys will be boys”.

On what planet is child molestation just boys being boys?

After accepting the fact that my brother was being sexually abused, his school offered the services of their counsellor to him who also came with an endless list of apparent qualifications. They refused to provide counselling to the central perpetrator because according to them, it was my brother who needed the help, not the child sex offender.

Yet, within two minutes of my brother’s first counselling session, the counsellor asked my twelve year old brother if he was gay?  If, possibly, him being gay (which he is not) could have made the boys think that he was “asking for it”?

On what planet does a counsellor blame a person’s possible, and incorrect, sexuality on whether they were sexually abused or not?

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When staff at my brother’s school learnt of the abuse, they paired him on assignments with this boy so my brother could “overcome his little issues”.  Apparently, my brother was the one who had issues. And, when my mother quietly spoke to another parent about the sexual abuse, the parent admitted the same actions were committed to her son, at the same school and she had just come to accept it.

On what planet do schools continue to expose a little boy to his predator? Or, do parents just accept sexual abuse being inflicted to their children?

Let me tell you, all these shocking acts by schools, staff members and parents occurs on the planet we live on.  And, it occurs now.  This isn’t a story from the 1980s or earlier, this is a true story from 2011.

My brother has since left the school and we, as a family, have decided to take no legal action at this point of time.  My brother deserves whatever he has left of a childhood and he also deserves to go to school where people do not snigger or laugh when they hear what happened to him.  Because, that’s also what happened. He was labelled gay and a poofter for being sexually abused.

An incredibly important part of the healing process for my brother, if there really can be a “healing process”, was receiving intense counselling and being surrounded by strong and caring male role models.  His family and true friends did not blame him for the horrific actions which he suffered and we all tried our best to support my brother through the rollercoaster of emotions he experienced – anger, injustice, hurt and violation.

One day, my brother and hopefully other boys who were sexually abused at that school, will come together and seek justice for the mortifying and life-changing injustices which were committed against them.

I speak to so many people who choose to sit in their world of naivety and believe that a) boys can’t molest other boys and b) sex abuse against children is something of the previous century.  And, many people act this way because just like my brother’s school, teachers and other parents, it’s just easier to deny the truth than to stand up for the violated little boys and girls.

“This can’t be ignored anymore”.

It’s too damn easy for people to live on their separate planet and blame a little boy for being gay, or excuse sexual abuse with “boys being boys” or to point and laugh at my brother for being a victim of sexual abuse.

But, it’s time that as a society we stopped blaming the victim to try and make the truth of child sex abuse go away and begin to question firstly why child abuse happens, indifferent to the perpetrator being an adult or a child.  And secondly, we need to prosecute the people who cover sexual abuse up.  The people who thought it was okay for my brother to be molested. The schools and staff members who justify sexual abuse and prefer just to close their eyes and cover their ears.

When the school turned a blind eye to the sex abuse occurring to my brother, they didn’t just turn their back on one boy – but many.  They refused to help the central perpetrator who was clearly suffering in his own way, the other boys at that school who were too frightened to raise their voice and the millions of child abuse victims around the world.

Like my brother, victims of child sex abuse deserve far more than silence.  They deserve your voice. They deserve the voice of a nation so that one day they can tell their stories and not fear prejudice or discrimination.

Most of all, they deserve the right to a childhood – a safe one.

If this post brings up any issues for you, you can contact Bravehearts (an organisation providing support to victims of child abuse) here.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, you can get advice from the Child Abuse Protection Hotline by calling 1800 688 009, or visiting their website. You can also call the 24-hour Child Abuse Report Line (131 478).

Tags: family
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