David’s Story

Back in the 1950s when a small child, the product of inadequate parents and the oldest of seven children, at that time as i have 7 sisters and two brothers now, I could not have imagined for a moment the suffering and abuse that lay ahead of me. The first abuse happened in the health camp and then in numerous child welfare institutions throughout the country. And several incidents in church care.

I have come to realise that the perpetrators at the time had no idea of two things; that we would grow up and remember things about what happened to us and that we would one day get access to our files and read about our care. I was physically and sexually abused in every place I was sent and because of my appearance I was the target of every bully and the sexual toy for anyone who chose to abuse me. I could not fight back as I was skin and bone due to my inadequate care and appeared malnourished and severely under-developed for my age. There was no-one I could call on to save me and the threats of more were enough to keep me from telling anyone about what was happening. I arrived at Otekaieke Special School on Thursday 17th September and on the Saturday following I was gang raped by four boys, so on the following Tuesday I ran away with two other boys and we got to Lyttelton before getting caught and after the court appearance we were sent to Boys Training Centre, where again I was severely abused before I was discharged.

I want to say to anyone who has been abused – find someone you trust and tell them and ask them if they will support you to come forward and have the perpetrators punished. When I was abused it was not my fault, I did nothing wrong. I was in the wrong place at the right time for the perpetrators to satisfy themselves. My life is wrecked by my life’s experiences and it cannot be repaired. I was a severely damaged child and I am now a permanently damaged adult of 60 years old.