Ken got chatting with a young dude at the bus stop. “The Beatles were pretty big when I was 12. He was dressed just like them and I thought he was so cool.” After getting off the bus together in town, Ken’s new friend took him into the toilets at the picture theatre where he forced Ken to masturbate him. “Don’t tell or you’ll get into trouble because what you’ve done is wrong.”
They met fairly regularly after that. Ken says he felt he couldn’t stop what was happening. Then one time they were in bed together. All he remembers is feeling something wet and sticky between his legs. He thought it was blood – he didn’t know about semen.
The abuse didn’t last long but Ken changed from a “yappy”, happy kid to a sarcastic, angry teenager. By the time he was 14 he’d been kicked out of school for asaulting a teacher. He became more violent. He constantly felt he had to prove himself as a man. His sister stopped bringing friends home because Ken would “try and get them into bed.” He’d also fight anyone, anywhere.
Ken married at 19. The marriage lasted 17 years. They had two children. Ken did his military training and at 25 took up boxing. It wasn’t until he almost threw a guy through a pub window in a fight over a pool table that Ken finally realised he needed serious help for his anger, before he killed someone.
He went out to the city’s biggest psychiatric hospital and knocked on the doors, begging for help. They sent him to Psychiatric Emergency Services where, after listening to his history, a doctor told him that the root of his problem was the sexual abuse. Ken was put on an anger management course. Until then he had no idea that his anger and the abuse were connected.
Ken admits “It’s hard for a man to ask for help. Just letting people know you’ve been sexually abused seems shaming, bu the way I was going I might have ended up killling someone if I hadn’t got the help I needed!”