Firstly, I have about year seven reading and writing skills because of the lack of education I received in the state run institutions when I was a child. A number of good friends have helped me with this web page. The words are mine.
People always ask me, "What's in it for you?"
I am a former Ward of the State and spent my early childhood roaming the streets of Sydney - Darlinghurst, Redfern, Bondi, Paddington and the inner west. To support myself, I would steal fruit from the Crown Street Fruit Carts and sell the stolen fruit to workers on building sites. I would then go through the lockers on the building sites and steal any money that was in the lockers.
I was made a State Ward when I was eight years old when I was caught stealing ammunition from the Alexandria Goods Yard and selling it to people for half price at the entrance to the goods yard. I was locked up in a number of state run institutions where I was disciplined in different vicious ways, bashed and sexually assaulted. I was basically deprived of a normal childhood. I got to hate authority.
When I was discharged from State control at eighteen years of age, I had hardly any education and no job skills. The only way I knew to earn a living was to again roam the streets of Sydney doing what I had to do to survive. Luckily I was never interested in drugs so I obtained private tutoring and was able to get a number of normal jobs, finally obtaining full time employment as gardener and later as a Transport Officer at a State run institution.
When the 2003 New South Wales Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service (Wood Royal Commission), which was expanded to include paedophilia occurred, I was happily married, had two lovely children and a full time job. Because of my experiences as a state ward, a group of former state wards suggested to the Royal Commission that I could provide them with information about the various institutions. I was interviewed by two investigators from the Royal Commission over a number of weeks and gave evidence in the Royal Commission. This caused all my repressed memories to come to the fore and I lost the plot. What had happened to me when I was young came back to haunt me. My wife at the time and I saw a lawyer and started a case against the State of New South Wales for what had happened to me as a child. When I had been made a Ward of the State, they were supposed to protect and care for me but instead, I had been subjected to rapes, sexual assaults, constant beatings, vicious discipline and received no education. I had become obsessed with making the government pay for what they had done to me. My marriage dissolved while the case was being prepared because I was not the man that my wife had married. My wife and children moved to the country and I resigned from my job of seventeen years. My wife still supported me, but my immediate family did not. I was on my own again and suffered from constant nightmares and daytime depression. I managed to beat the Statute of Limitations and my matter was set down for hearing. My legal team had built a very strong case against the New South Wales Government. Three days before the court hearing was due to start, my immediate family, although they had provided statements, told me that they had no intention of giving evidence. My wife was still going to give evidence but it depressed me even though I still had enough witnesses and evidence to win the case. I tried to change my immediate family's minds, but was unsuccessful, so after I left my brothers' residence, I took a box of Diazepam, a box of Avanza Soltab and a box of Valium and washed it down with two liters of coca-cola. I found out afterwards that my legal team, most of whom had become good friends, tried frantically to find me after I telephoned and said goodbye. They found me on a railway station and I woke up in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital four days later. I took the slow road to recovery.
I knew that I couldn't continue with the legal case against the New South Wales Government. I tried to reconcile with my wife but was unsuccessful. It was bitter for a while, but we both put our children's best interests ahead of our problems. I loved my children and had two years of contact visits and then unsupervised weekend visits. When my ex-wife moved to Townsville, I had my children for half the school holidays in Sydney.
My life is now back on track. I am friends with my ex-wife again and have a wonderful relationship with my son and daughter. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to hold down a full time job because of my age (nearly fifty), lack of skills, education and the problems I have with handling authority. Luckily, I have some good friends and some family members who supported me during my difficulties.
I started Journey Home as a way of helping others who have undergone similar experiences to mine. I don't get paid, my expenses aren't paid, I have paid for this web page and my time is free. Journey Home is a way for me to try and stop anyone else from experiencing what I went through and to help them through their lives if it happens. I want to help those who have gone through similar troubled times. There are a lot of organizations that help women who have been abused or sexually assaulted, but very few that help males. Abuse or sexual assault is just as terrible for males as it is with females but because of the male "macho" environment in Australia, it is much harder for a male to admit that it has happened, report it to the police or talk about it with their wife, family or friends. I am not a counsellor but I am a good listener and I feel that my life experiences give me a good understanding. I am willing to listen and help victims tell it to their wife, family and friends. I also know many excellent organizations - counselling, investigation, legal etc and can guide victims should they wish to pursue the legal avenue i.e. Victims of Crime. I think it only fair to inform you that I am used as a Consultant by Injury Investigations Australia and if you choose that firm to assist you with a claim, I may receive a fee if my services are utilized.
I hope I have answered your question, "What's in it for me?" - basically the satisfaction of helping someone who has gone through a similar experience to me. There was no-one to help me, but I am here to help you.
In closing, I would like to say, "Why bother to tell it like it is when everyone else seems content to tell it like it isn't? Why struggle to set the world right when others seen determined to do wrong? Why offer light to folk who claim to be happy in the dark? Why pursue the challenge of education when everyone knows ignorance is bliss? Why? Because you can't help being who you are. You believe what you believe. Your current plan may not be logical but it is deeply wise. Trust your strongest instinct and do what you understand to be right."