Current Issues, Past Issues

Although the things that caused me hurt in my childhood are not directly relevant to the political hoo haa that’s eating up Twitter at the moment (Jamie Briggs – MP going way too far), the general idea of those in power doing the wrong thing to someone they have power over, is the same. The reason for the lapses in life’s niceties was the same – drunkenness. That wasn’t an excuse when I was a child, and it isn’t now. Drinking too much is a choice made by a person. No-one forced my abuser to drink too much and abuse me. He chose to get drunk, and did it.

No-one in these circumstances was forced to drink too much. There was the option to behave well instead of behaving like an animal. That option should always be the one adhered to especially when you are in a position of power over the one you are dealing with. And with sexual advances, overt acceptance is always required. If the other person isn’t obviously open to your advances, forget about it.

In my poetry collection “damaged children, Precious Gems”, I have a poem that looked at some of these themes. It is from the “Teenage Years” section of the collection, and the relevant poem is titled ‘bragging rights’, and it talks about the difference between how males and females are referred to by their peers where sex is concerned. The young men are heroes with their mates, the young women are labelled sluts by those same young men. Here are the relevant lines:

there’s a line between hero

and slut. It’s a fine line, a very fine line

and it’s gender specific


It certainly looks like the ‘hero’ label was placed on or sought by Briggs, in this instance, and I wonder whether the woman would have been labelled slut if the woman had done the same thing. Either way, it was inappropriate behaviour, and the most appropriate label for Briggs over this would be ‘zero not hero’. Let your brain do your thinking, and things will go much better. Dicks aren’t known for their thinking powers.

When I was a teenager, girls who ‘put out’ were labeled like this, and now, many years later they still are labeled in this way. The boys are heroes if they have a conquest, the girls sluts, and the issue of consent is largely irrelevant to some in society. Victim blaming is rampart, and abuse is ignored is down-played as ‘bad behaviour’.

This seems wrong to me, and is wrong in the law. Why are such things accepted by so many people? Is our society really that ignorant that sexual abuse can be accepted as ‘boys being boys’ and so is OK? I don’t think it is, and I think it should be treated as what it is, sexual abuse.

Thoughts from others on this matter are welcome, as always.


Ways to Ease the Pain

Now, I’m not saying here I have all of the answers to healing the pain from abuse. We are all different and suffer and I hope heal, in different ways. I just know what worked for me, and I share that with the hope it may offer hope for others.

Healing occurs in set ways, but not in set time frames necessarily. And healing won’t occur if you continue to damage yourself through self-blame, or not caring for yourself. Looking after yourself, giving yourself the chance to look at what has happened in a non-judgemental way helps.

Talking with others who truly know and understand can help. Professional help can certainly play an effective role here too. I never received professional help to aid mt in my healing process. Instead, I fell into creative writing. This helped me to heal from the damage I’d received as a young child, and later on too. I went through different phases of recovery, from hiding from the truth (denial), to anger, and then on to acceptance and recovery.

In my anger stage, I was able to confront the abuser (in my fiction writing). I have two short stories I particularly love, because the main character in the stories stands up the villain of the story, and gives that bad guy exactly what he deserved. It felt so good to write those stories, it was incredibly healing. 

Once that phase was done, I felt I didn’t necessarily need to follow that path any more, and I began to reach out to other people who were hurt and unable to find relief. Talking with other damaged people (women), sharing stories with them, listening in non-judgemental ways, these have helped me, and helped the women I was talking with.

I went on to write more poetry that dealt more with these issues, much happier poetry, where I talk with others, and we all end up with happier stories to tell, stories where we are beginning to understand that this abuse we suffered was not our fault.

I then put all of these poems into a collection, published that work, and am now happy to be sharing my journey with others. The feedback I have had from others reading my words has been positive, and humbling. When other people tell me my words have helped them, I can feel the hard part within melt, and I am happy with that other person and with myself. 

There is still much to do. Women and children are still being abused, and the services there to help them are being cut back by our Federal government at the moment. There are still people out there to help in small ways though, people like me, who will listen to the stories and offer support, by listening and believing the story-teller.

Damaged children can be nurtured and made into precious gems, with the gentle rub of kindness.

Vigilante Action, or Just Plain Murder?

I was reading today about the death of a South Australian man, one previously convicted of child sexual abuse charges. This issue touches me closely, have been a victim, many, many years ago, as a child. I have no idea how I would have felt if my abuser had been murdered. I do admit that I’m glad he’s now dead, and has been for many years.

Child abuse is such a sensitive issue. There are many people who have suffered from this terrible crime, many who have yet to find a peaceful place in their hearts and minds. These victims, quite rightly want to see justice for themselves. So often though there is no justice available.

So do I feel the murder of this man can be justified if it was done in response to his previous abuses? No, I don’t think that. The man was charged, and he did what our justice system said he had to do. He was on a good behaviour bond. I’m not sure about that, I don’t know enough about his case.

He’s dead now. I’m sorry for his family, particularly his sister who found him dead …

Protecting Children can be a Difficult Thing…

This article that I first read just a few minutes ago, has left me pondering how far should people go to protect the innocent. In this case, a father kills the abuser of his four year old child.

On the one hand of course, anyone would expect a father to protect his child. On the other hand though, killing a person is the worst punishment anyone could ever get. The man son’t be charged with murder, according to the article, but killing another person is a thing that should never be done except in extreme circumstances.

I can only hope the child didn’t witness this attack on the abuser, and I hope the father and child can work out a way to understand the whole mad event. I don’t know how you’d explain it, but killing is killing, abuse is abuse, and yes, children should always be protected until they are old enough to protect themselves.

This link has more information about this case. Personally, I feel the father has gone too far. Killing a person surely is going too far.. Do you agree?

I’m interested to  know how other people feel about this terrible thing.

Queensland is Keeping an Eye on Offenders

This link shows how effective new procedures are in keeping an eye on known child sex offenders in the Queensland community. The new GPS system in use is monitored 24/7 by an increasing number of people, at a secret building.

Selected high risk sex offenders on community supervision orders are fitted with GPS trackers so the authorities can keep an eye on them, and intervene if the offenders are deemed to be doing untoward things. Such things may include getting together with other offenders.

This way of looking at the issue of keeping the community safe seems to me to be a good one, I wonder if such things are being considered in other states in Australia? There is a strong need for safety, but also a need for civil liberties for all, if they show they can responsibly live ‘in the real world’, away from prison.

Children are a precious resource, and must be kept safe whenever possible. Children have civil liberty issues too, of course, and must be allowed to find out about life so they can gain the life skills they need. This isn’t a simple issue, and it’s good to see the Queensland government seems to be taking a more complex way to deal with a problem.

It can’t prevent abuse occurring completely, but it makes it more difficult for offenders to re-offend, and that has to be at least a slight relief. What do others think?

Convicted Sex Offender Offers to Pay Compensation

Malcolm Fox, who was last year found guilty four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, has, after previously refusing to pay compensation to his victim, now made an offer to pay.

Fox is the husband of well known and loved children’s author, Mem Fox and father of South Australian State politician Chloe Fox. The victim of this crime, a man known as ‘Craig’ has suffered for years since these crimes occurred in 1984 and 1985, and has been receiving help for psychological injuries he suffered as a result of the abuse.

Fox’s victim is said to have accepted an offer for out-of-court compensation from Fox and the State. This seems to be far from ideal, but at least the victim has received something to help with the costs he has had since being abused by this man.

I am disgusted at what Fox has done to one of his students. A teacher owes  a duty of care to the young people he came into contact with whilst a teacher. Students should never have to fear their teacher, and should certainly never be abused by them.



Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

In my idle wandering around the World Wide Web today, I found an interesting report I hadn’t read before.  The report is here.


I found interesting ideas in this report, and could certainly relate to some of  what was written. The report is far from new, but it is still pertinent. I find it disturbing that the ideas discussed in the report seem to be largely not understood or misunderstood still after more than ten years.

I welcome the thoughts of others on the ramifications and implications of this report.



Mr Mem Fox Makes Me Sick

I found out today that Mem Fox’s husband is refusing to pay the $10000 criminal injuries compensation claim to his victim.

If you don’t know about this awful offence committed against a student by Fox when he was the boy’s teacher, some of the details are here.

This case sickens me and I feel almost ill when I remember the times I’ve read the books of Mem Fox, and read words to my son when he was a young child. I know it’s the husband who committed this awful abuse of his position of power over a student, but I still think it’s disgusting.

I can imagine terrible scenes where Fox used his position as the spouse of this much loved writer for children, and it makes me sick. I hope that one day this victim, Craig, is able to find a kind of peace. I hope one day Malcolm Fox realises the terrible thing he has done, and acknowledges his guilt.

The courts found him guilty and gave him a suspended sentence. I think it’s time he was made to realise what an awful thing he has done. I don’t always agree with locking people up in prison, but I think this time it should be done.

Will he get away with this, or will his dual position as the husband of the beloved Mem Fox and father of the South Australian MP Chloe Fox get him off? Another terrible miscarriage of justice.


Re-reading my poetry collection

Tomorrow I’m going to have my first ‘gig’ reading from my poetry collection since it was launched a couple of months ago. It was an interesting experience going through to very personal poems that make up this collection.

I had to examine each poem objectively – was this suitable for the probable audience, was it relevant to the event, would it be understood. I’ve picked out ten poems that I feel will work, and now I just have to get there tomorrow, remembering to bring my copy of my collection with the tags inside, and a copy of the sheet I’ve typed with page numbers and poem titles listed.

The event I’m going to tomorrow afternoon is the Night Voices “Extravaganza” The event will start at 1pm and will be held at Marion RSL Hall Norfolk Road. I’m looking forward to having a great day tomorrow of poetry, love and friendship!

This is being held as a fundraiser in tribute of “Forget-me-knot Day” For Adults Surviving child abuse and neglect. There will be words and music, dancing and friendship. Add to that guest speakers and a sausage sizzle and you have a fun afternoon!

I’m feeling nervous and excited in good ways. I feel like this is going to open up even more doors, taking me closer to what I want to do in my life.



My Damaged Child Story

I’m heartened by the kind regards from people who have read my poetry collection. I am glad they have been helped by reading my words.

I wish to eventually take my poetry to other troubled people in the hope of helping them find a more peaceful place to be. Being abused is a terrible thing, but being abused by people who should be taking care of you is surely one of the most awful things that can happen to a young person.

I’m lucky in that the man who abused me when I was a child wasn’t actually a relative. I called him uncle, as all of the children who knew him did, but he was simply a man who boarded with my grandmother. I found some peace when I first wrote a poem about my experience, and named him.

He is long gone now, and I certainly don’t mourn him. I suspect there was  no-one much at all who was sorry when this man died. He had been a drinker at his local hotel, but I think that was the extent of his socialising, apart from taking part in family things my grandmother held or attended.

I disliked the man, and I know my mother didn’t like him either. She told me recently that she thought my female cousins may have had something not nice happen with Les as well, but she wasn’t sure about the details.

I know this man was estranged from his family. He was a help to my grandmother, doing handyman type things when he wasn’t at the hotel drinking. I have no idea whether my grandmother had any idea about these nasty things her boarder did. It’s too late now, he’s dead, she’s dead.

I’m a survivor, and I wish the same for other victims of child sexual abuse. I firmly believe creative writing made all the difference for me. I am available to assist others who wish to explore this.

email me.