Richard Glover, a victim of sex abuse, explains why it's been such a "tough week".

The following contains discussion of sexual assault which may be distressing. For 24-hour support, please call 1800 RESPECT.

In the wake of the media circus that has surrounded the conviction of Cardinal George Pell as a child sex abuser, journalist Richard Glover is shedding light on how the past few days have felt for victims of abuse.

The jury found Pell guilty of raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another after Sunday mass in East Melbourne in 1996.

Despite Pell’s conviction, a number of high profile Australians publicly declared their support for Cardinal Pell. Among them, were two Australian Prime Ministers: John Howard and Tony Abbott.

Abbott told 2GB radio the crimes Pell was convicted of didn’t “sound consistent with the man I have known”.

And in a character reference supplied after the jury’s decision, Howard stated, “None of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal.”

Richard Glover, who has been open about his painful childhood, shared to Twitter: “Those of us who were sexually abused when young have had a tough week.”

“I’m quite angry with those who have made it worse, including one person I partly admired. Is it that hard to imagine how it feels?”


Growing up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Glover has spoken about having uninterested parents and the darkness of being groomed by pedophiles.

In his book Flesh Wounds, Glover writes:

“Some of the experiences were great and some quite awful. I don’t need to recount them all, but to summarise: when a young person is unprotected and needy, pedophiles from miles around seem to instantly know, as if they are on some sort of text alert. I remember at age 16, having been invited to stay at some older man’s flat in Sydney, opening a cupboard door to see a swill of child pornography on the floor and thinking: ‘How did I get myself into this? And how do I get myself out of it?’”

Glover shares that the dangers of having indifferent parents continued throughout his adolescence.

Talking to Mia Freedman on the No Filter podcast, Glover says “I got into a really lot of trouble later on when I went to England after I had seen my Aunty for a while.”

For six months Glover lived with an older man who took advantage of Glover. In Flesh Wounds, Glover says:

“Lionel was after companionship more than sex, although every few weeks he’d more or less force me into bed, as I’m sure he’d done with at least some of the young ‘house guests’ before me.”

On No Filter Glover further explained: “One of the things that paedophiles do is they run down your self-esteem.”

“I used to lie awake in this small room at the other side of the house, crying myself to sleep every night really, and fantasising about what I would say to him – he was a very dominant person.”

“I’ll say ‘I’ve decided to go to Scotland’, or ‘I’ve decided to go back to see my Aunt’.”

“And then understanding that if I said it to him he would somehow talk me out of it and put me down and that I wouldn’t be able to muster the courage to go through with it.

He continued: “And then I had this fantasy of just sneaking out in the middle of the night, and then I’d remember the door was triple locked every night.”

In the end Glover did escape when his mum came to visit and realised what was going on.

Glover is now married to Debra Oswald, and has two children, Dan and Joe.

But evidently, all these years later, his awful experience has had a considerable impact on his life. And with high profile people showing their support for a convicted sex abuser, the wounds for some victims of these crimes are being reopened.

Mia Freedman spoke to Richard Glover about Flesh Wounds. Find on iTunes here or listen here:

If you have experienced sexual assault and are in need of support, please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also contact Bravehearts for counselling and support for survivors of sexual abuse on 1800 272 831, Lifeline for 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention, or, if you’re the partner of a person who has experienced sexual assault, you can contact PartnerSPEAK on (03) 9018 7872 for peer support for non-offending partners.