Keith John - Behind the Child Abuse by Ben - HTML preview

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Welcome to my world.

Child protection is high on my agenda, as it should be for every parent. But why is it that one

in three girls are subject to sexual abuse, and one in five boys. The statistics in Australia

alone has shown an alarming increase in reported cases of child sexual abuse, doubling from

2000 to 2008. Although reports did decrease substantially over the following two years, from

2010 they are back on the increase. [1]

I grew up in a family where all the children were subjected to verbal abuse of one kind or

another, while the older children also became subjected to sexual and physical abuse. When

my sisters reached about the age of eight or so, the father daughter relationship changed,

since, in the eyes of my drunken father, he believed he had the right to do whatever he

wanted to his children.

Sadly, my father got away with incestuous crimes. Even when he died at the age of seventy-

two, he had never been convicted for the trauma and damage that he contributed to his

children’s dysfunction. It was years after the kids had all left home and his wife had divorced

him before his deeds became common knowledge throughout the extended family. Even then

no-one believed they had the power to persecute him. The only consolation was that he lived

a lonely and isolated life. The fact that he got away without a criminal conviction has also

influenced the next generation of abusers within my family. I don’t believe abuse is

hereditary, but the parental influence in my family had bread disrespect towards women, plus

children learn more from what they see, rather than what their told. You know the old cliché,

‘monkey see, monkey do!’

By the time I was thirty, I had decided to trace my family history, as I wanted to find out who

I was and where I had come from. It wasn’t long before my research revealed that my father

was not the first of his kind.

I found some interesting facts from both sides of the family that played a role in who I am

today! On my mother side there was one couple who had twenty-two children, with only one

set of twins among them. It was no wonder that a photo of their fiftieth wedding anniversary

showed a very hard faced mother. It was sad to see that less than half the children celebrated

this special day with their parents, but I can understand it if they’re anything like my family.

There was also my great-grand father who at thirty married a sixteen year-old girl. They went

on to have sixteen children before his wife died of a sexually transmitted disease thirty years

later. There is evidence to prove she had the disease all he married life, suggesting she

contracted it from her husband and his promiscuous lifestyle before they met. According to

acquaintances, he was well known throughout the town in which they lived for flirting with

the ladies. With so many observers, it’s a wonder she never knew, or did she? If she if like

my mother, then I believe she did know, but their culture dictated that they turn a blind eye.

But there’s more. On my father’s side, I met a great-auntie. I caught her at a bad time because

her husband had recently died. Nevertheless, she was still quite informative. After she had

exhausted her story about receiving a letter from the queen of England to commend them on

their wedding anniversary, I asked her a lot of questions about her parents. I first asked her

how her mother had died. Probably not the most appropriate of question under the

circumstances, but she was willing to tell me. She told me the story as to how her mother had

died while my great-auntie and her father were fishing on the beach. Her mother knocked

over a candle after falling asleep in their makeshift beach tent. The tent caught fire, but no-

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one could get to her in time to save her from the flames. My great-auntie was only fourteen at

the time, and although she tried, there was little she could do to save her mother. It was an

horrific memory for her to recall, yet, not as horrific as recalling the memories of her father. I

was under the assumption that her father was in the fire brigade, but when I asked, she went

off on a tangent as to how much she hated her father. She told me how she couldn’t wait to

leave the family home; she’ll go anywhere and marry anyone, to get away from that man. I

remember those exact same words used by two of my sisters when they became old enough

to marry. My sisters were desperate to leave home and change their name so that they didn’t

have to associate with my father or his name. To them, getting married was like a second

chance at life. Up until then, their life was far from normal.

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