to Child Sexual Abuse Statement - Royal Commission into Institutional

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STAT.0222.001.0001_R Royal Comm1ss1on mto lnst1tut1onal Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Statement

Name

ALCTHA BLAYSE

Address

REDACTED

Occup ation Date

1.

26 March 2014

This statement made by me accurately sets out the evidence thal I am prepared to give lo the Royal Comm1ss1on into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The statement is true and correct to the best or my knowledge and belief.

2. My full name is Aletha Marie Blayse. I was born on 16 April, 1975 (I wa~ born Aletha Mane Blazev1ch, but my father changed our family's name by deed poll when I was a child).

3. My father, lewis Blayse (then Lewin BJazevich), was abused in a Salvation Army home, Alkira between 1960 and 1962

4. When I was lS years old, my father Created a support group for v1ct1ms of abuse called 'FICH (f:ormerlv in Children's Homes)'. The support group would meet at our family home and tell their own stories of physical, psychological. spiritual, and sexual abuse. I would be present when the stories were Sh<>red. At the age of 18 years, I was prescribed anti depressants for depression, which I believe was precipitated by hearing all those horrific stories or abuse, and I bCgiln to gain weight from the medications and I struggled with my weight and consequent low self-esteem for yeilrs. I was not supposed to be listening in to the stories and to my pC>rents talking about them dlld I was not suppost?d to read all that I did about the abuse In newsp<1per reports ;ind

in

other

pubhcat1ons (e.g., things published by Bruce Grundy who wrote extensively in his own

Signature:~

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STAT.0222.001.0002_R Stat e m e nt In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern T erritory's H a ndling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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independent publication), but I did. I argued with my parents to let me listen In and be told things, and they gave in to me because I was a very pushy and precocious child and because I wanted to understand my father and become closer to him and maybe even find a way to help reduce his suffering. Maybe on some level he was okay with it because everyone wants to be understood, but I do not want it to be thought that my father or my mother dumped things on me; they did not. Often, I read material I had been told explicitly that I was not to read, but I disobeyed my parents. For a very long time, because I had to take antidepressants to get by and cope with the grief and the horror of what I heard and read, I thought I was sick and deficient when I was just traumatised and that affected my self-esteem very badly too, for many, many years. But I want it known that I do not consider myself a 'victim' for this. What matters ls what these people went through and my suffering at hearing their stories is trivial compared to what they went through.

5. My father told me about:

(i)

the feeling of constant fear he felt the entire time he was at Alkita;

(ii)

the shocking awareness at being a sexual object to his 'carers' and the constant feeling of shame that came with that;

(iii)

the ridiculous brutality and sadism he experienced and witnessed and how he had flashbacks about it throughout his life starting from his early 20s when the memories of the home resurfaced;

(iv)

the fear of someone comi ng for him in the night all the time he was at Alkira;

Signature~

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Witness:~;;;/~

STAT.0222.001.0003_R statement In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory 's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse

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Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

(v)

lhe despair he felt at hearing other boys crying on their return to their beds at Alktra after being taken out in the night and the feeling of helplessness at not being able to stop their distress and prevent them being abused;

(vi)

lhe terror lhal followed his witnessing something that he was convinced for the rest of his life was the prelude to the murder of a boy one night and the hortor and fear

he fell all the time and from then on;

(vii)

lhe euilt he felt throughout his life at failing to "save" the other boys through the escc:ipe he organised and the insane punishment inflicted upon him and the other boys (see 'lihe Homies' for more information) and at being tortured for two days for being suspected of being the brains behind the escape attempt (see the Courier· Mail obituary, 1 February, 2014, on the blog for more information);

{viii)

the fact thal he woke up every day of his life in terror because he thought he was still in Alk1ra (this continued until his death);

(Ix)

his being taken out on "outingsH by strangers (he never revealed to me what happened on these outings but he was extremely modest about such things with his children, but I knew it was bad because his eyes became unfocussed whenever he mentioned them - I believe he was dissociating);

(x)

the beatings, canings, and floggings he received;

being told constantly he would be lucky to ever get a job as a labourer and being told he came from the gutter;

-

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Signatur~ft....................................

witness:...~~t?'~.

STAT.0222.001.0004_R Stat em ent i n the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

(xii)

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never being allowed personal possessions and having toys given to him by members of the public taken away from him;

(xiii)

never feeling safe or private (constantly exposed);

(xw)

the disgusting food he was served (see below for more information) and how horrible it felt watching the Salvation Army officers tucking into beautiful food every day in front of the boys while the boys ate slop and how much he yearned al lhe time for proper food;

(xv)

how appalled he felt at what he called the "public fac:e" the Salvation Army officers put on when he was taken out and put "on show" at various times when he was at Alkira, and how this contrasted with the reality of the people who presented themselves as good people in public bul were " pure evil" in reality;

(xvi)

how he could not write letters to his parents because he was told he did not have any money to pay for postage and how he had to send his parents " thought telegrams"'; and

(xvii)

how Alkira was by far and away the worst place he had ever been put in.

Peter Farthing from the Salvation Army attended my father's home on 1 October, 1004 (estimated date based on documentation available - see Appendix 6). During this meeting, my rather was offered and accepled $20,000 (the amount was later raised to $30,000 after my mother's intervention - see below) from the Salvation Army only following the airing of 'The Homies' 4-Corners' program (1t aired 18 August, 2003) and I think it was only because the Salvation Army was trying to restore its reputation, not that it really cared about my father or his

STAT.0222.001.0005_R Statem e nt in the matte r of the 5alvatlon Army Eastern T e rritory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~

family 1 bcheve this because my father had been talking about the abuses al Alkira for a long time before that and nothing happened until well after the airing of 'The Hom1es' . There was an approJch made by a barrister, Michael J.

w

Byrne, to the Salvation Army on my father's behalf

to the Salvation Army a couple of years before the airing of 'The Homies' In a letter (see Appendix l) from Michael J.

w. Byrne to the Salvation Army's then law firm,

Pnce Waterhouse

coopers Legal, dated 12 December, 2002, Mr. Byrne expressed concern at the Salvation Army's soltcltors' refusal to "enter into some form of round table conference" and its legalistic stance towards my father and pointing out the inappropriateness of forcing my father to go down the litigation road This elicited a response (see Appendix 2) from the Salvation Army's (apparently) new law firm. Thynne & Mac
Signature:~

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STAT.0222.001.0006_R Statem ent in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

father's losses

in

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Me because of his experiences ar Alklra and how the experiences made him

totally and permanently disabled (see Appendices 9 and 10). Things changed after that. on 12 July 2004, Peter Farthing wrote (see Appendix S) back to my mother with a more 'sympathetic' stance. Peter Farthing wrote (see Appendix 6) to my father on 21 October 2004 stating that it was offering an "ex-gratia" payment of $30,000. There was a follow-up letter (see Appendix 7) from Peter Farthing's secretary on 1 November 2004. My father must have written a positive letter to Peter Farthing, because on 8 March, 2005, Cciptain Daphne Cox wrote ( ee Appendix 8) back to my father thanking him for a "warm, positive letter."

In summary, despite their new 'sympathetic' stance finally adopted after a couple of years of sharp practice, the Salvation Army only paid the money more than a year after the a1nng of 'The Hom1es' (my father told me before he died that he had read somewhere that the Salvation Army's takings from donations dropped after the airing of the program, but I cannot prove that this was the case - this just what my father told me). I cannot prove this either, but I suspect also that the Salvation Army had been told of things that happened ot Alkira by other victims too well before the airing of 'The Homies' and even well before the first legal approach by my family (there had been other approachec; well before that) to the Salvation Army by my father/mother too (the Royal Commission would be able to find this if 1t talked to other victims of the {I think) 35 Salvation Army homes m Australia) and find it impossible to believe otherwi~e . The Salvation

Army never approached my father to help him before 2004 - quite the opposite, as the preceding informiltion about legal approaches demonstrates. Also, I believe lhe payment was only made because the Salvation Army was trying to restore its reputation, not that 1t really cared about my father or his family because my mother told me that c;he and my father had approached the Salvotion Army in the early 1990s about what happened at Alk1ra, and they did

Signature: ..

Witness: ~~~~ -

STAT.0222.001.0007_R Statement in the matte r of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory 's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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nothing. I also believe it because when my father was released out of Alkira when he was 12, the Salvation Army never once enquired about his welfare until 2004 (and only then after my mother had approached them) Peter Farthing or anyone from the Salvation Afmy also had a very long time after the payment made to check up on my father and see if he was really okay, but they did not (admittedly, Peter and Kerrie Farthing attended my father's art exhibition

1n 2005,

but I do

not recall my father asking if they enquired about his welfare; in any event, there was no enquiry about his wel fare after that until just before the announcement that the Royal Commission would be looking into Alkira, when Peter Farthing emailed my father wishing him well with his blog). Finally, I believe the Salvation Army did not really care because no ~one with ony sense of decency, true humility, and a genuine desire to set wrongs right, no matter how 'nice' they appear, would believe that $30,000 makes up for the fact that because of what happened at Alkira, my father lived a life mainly on welfare (13 years on the dole, 20 on a pension) when he should, given his incredible intellect (my father's IQ was 160) and his incredible determination and desire to provide for the family he loved so much, have lived In prosperity and comfort.

Initially, Peter Farthing offered my father $20,000 after my mother approached the Salvation Afmy again after hearing from a wife of another victim (John Munt, now deceased) of Alkira that a man called Peter Farthing was "running around approaching victims and making payouts," which was agreed upon by my father. Some time later, my mother contacted Mr. Farthing and requested the amount be increased to $30,000. My mother told me the amount was lifted without hesitation. She said this money was not described as compensation, but rather as "a tangible expression of our regret" (words again later used by James Condon in an email to me after my father died). I consider the money paid to my father to be In the nature of damage control following 'The Homles' program's airing. I feel this very strongly also because my mother

Signature:~................................... .

Witness:~./:~

STAT.0222.001.0008_R Statement in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse

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Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

told me that some years later after the payout to my father, she approached the Salvation Army again to explain that things were still very bad in our family, and she was completely ignored (the spotlight was no longer on them and this is why I believe they Ignored her). Similarly, I feel it because I was told by email from Leonie Sheedy from Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) (on

4n February, 2014, a few days after my father had died) that she had spoken with James Condon from the Salvation Army about our family's need to be compensated and she said In her email to me: " He told me he is in contact with the famll'y," but actually I was never approached by James Condon or anyone else from the Salvation Army about compensation, and on 21 February, 2014 I was informed (in a deeply in'iultlng email in which Mr. Condon said he would "remember you (me) in prayer" that I published on my father's blog on 21 February, 2014) that I was not going to

get more from them. It is my opinion, given how the Salvation Army has behaved in the past, that the organisation felt thal the 'danger period' for its reputation had passed since the hearings about the horrific things at Alkira were over and even people's memory of my father was probably starting to fade by the time I said pu blicly on the blog on 12 February, 2014 that I was 1

frustrated at their lack of approach about compensation. The public forgets quickly, and it 1s my belief the Salvation Army understands this very well.

My father told me shortly after the $30,000 payment was received that he felt ashamed and hum1lrated at taking the money but felt he had no choice (he 1-.new legal approaches would fail given how the Salvation Army had behaved before and he had to get his teeth oul) and also said that Peter and his wife seemed like "nice people." He also told me later when 1 asked what happened that he

was not Invited to have legal representation or representation from his

psychiatrist at the meeting between himself and Peter Farthing from the Salvation Army. This 1s appalling Vulnerable people need proper representation and my father had been described by

Signature: , .

STAT.0222.001.0009_R Statement in the matter of the Salvati on Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Clal ms of Child Sexua1 Abuse Statement of Aletha 81ayse continued

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my mother to the Salvation Army as "fragile," so the organisation did know whal sort of person they were dealing with. People such as my father were instilled with low self esteem and low self-worth by the people running places like Alkira and I think the Salvation Army knew that and still knows that and should not be taking advantage of this childhood conditioning by offering appallingly low payouts to victims. My mother has told me she felt "beaten down" by the Salvation Armys treatment of our family before Peter Farthing's meeting and felt there was Hno point" in trying for proper compensation. Also, I believe my father was acutely lonely at the time Peter farthing came up, even though I did not understand this for a long time. I think he was grateful that someone was being kind to him and felt touched that someone would come and see him. Later on, in recent times, my father told me he realised that he had been "taken for a sucker" by being taken in by how "nice# Peter and his wife Kerrie (who came up to BenarkJn too) were when what happened was anything but nice. He said he felt stupid to have gone along with it all, because he of all people knew from his childhood experiences how the " faceH of the Salvation Army frequently 1s radically different from the reality.

6. After my father received the $30,000 from the Salvation Army, my siblings and I received written apologies from the Salvation Army. None of us was ever asked whether we thought that was enough to make up for what was done to my father. No one has ever asked me how the abuse my father suffered has affected my family and me personally.

7.

In 2014, the Salvation Army paid approximately $14,000 towards the costs of my father's funeral, but I do not believe that this can be regarded as compensntion for the losses experienced by my family because of the damage mfhcted upon my father in Alkira. Given how the Salvation Army has treated my family over the years, I have nothing but suspicion about this gesture, however ungrateful this may appear, and I believe this too was a PR move, not because the organisation

Witness:-~ .J.:..~

STAT.0222.001.0010_R Statement in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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actually cared. Maybe 1 am wrong. 1 do not know. But people do not change in my experience. And, as I say, they have not even attempted to talk about true compensation.

8

1 wish to make the point, pubhc:ly, that the Salvation Army's new Hrestorative justiceH approach,

as 1l calls 1t, does not accord with what an ordinary member of the pubhc would assoaate with the expression - my op1mon 1s that restorative Justice to an ordinary person means restoring a person to the position in life they would have been were it not for what was done to them This ;ipphes in the case of both my father and in relation to my own situation, and that of the rest of my fom1ly. I believe the public is not being given an accurate impression about the Salvation Army's responses to allegations against its members, living or dead.

9

Unless organisations are forced to wear the full cost of abuse, they will have inadequate mct>ntives to make sure atroot1es never happen again. This true cost must be one that reflects the difference between what

a person earned in their life and what

were 1t not for the abuse" inflicted upon them. There also

ha~

they ought to have earned

to be a component for family

members' losses and for pain and suffering.

10. I have had relationships break down and negative effects on several parts of my person life over the past 7 plus years to care for my father at Benarkin and to cope with the consequences or his and my family's

llf~long

povt>rty because of his inability to keep JObs or succeed at other

enterprises But the sacrifices have occurred over a much longer period than the period during which I was caring full· t1mp ror my father, and I feel this is pertinent because the 'claims process' be1na investigated by the> Royal Commission must, in my opinion, necessarily encompass the

absence of a 'claims process' - 1.e., the lack of any (adequate) compensation policy prior to the payout my father received. I will explain how the Salvation Army's failure to compensate my father fully has affected me

Signature: ....

in

what follows. Before proceeding, however, I want 1t known that

STAT.0222.001.0011_R Statement In the matter of the Salvatlon Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Stalement of Aletha Blayse continued

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my father was an extraordmarily good father under the circumstances and absolutely nothing I say about my suffering diminishes the enormous benefit I received in having such a kind, loving, and dtlentrve father He was a gentJe man, and a natural teacher, and he nurtured me and supported me emotionally throughout my entire life. He was the most loving father anyone could possibly ever want, and any suffering I went through, I still consider myself privileged for having been born his daughter. I loved him.

Before proceeding, I also want to make the point that in relation to the payout made to my father, I felt great anger at the Salvation Army for how pitiful it was (and for the circumstances under which It was paid). It paid for his teeth to be removed (he could not afford lo go to Lhe dentist but hid the state of his teeth from his family so he would not worry us,

Of

I would have

helped when I had the chance - eventually I caught him out swilling bleach In an effort to keep the 1nfecuons under control and realised what was going on) and for some minor repairs to his home I am angry about this because he only had bad teeth because of his poverty, poverty for whrch the Salvation Army was responsible. I particularly felt he had been swindled and that his good nature and low expectations had been taken advantage of. He was excessively gracious and only later realised that his good nature had been taken advantage of.

I came up to Benarkin 7 and a bit

. • years ago to 11ve wrth my father because I realised he was

starting to do without some basics. He had hidden th's f . ' rom me too and •l was only when I pushed him about the matter after discovering one day on a visit to him he h d f d · a no oo in the cupboard and had been living on a b I f ow o noodles a day for the preceding month that I realised how badly he was doing. I reali~ed I had to live with him because he need"'d h "' me to ~ are the costs of living with him and b · ecause I reahsed to my horror and shame that despite all his talk over the

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STAT.0222.001.0012_R Statement In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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years following the dissolution of my parents' marriage about being a ''natural hermit" and "not needing other people'" (he always said ffHome Boys don't ask for help," and I kicked myself for not understanding the implications of the statement and my stupidity at believing him before when he said he was okay), he was acutely lonely. As I say, I am very angry with myself for not seeing through his bravado earlier. In moving to Benarktn to live with him, I lost a relationship and mourned the person for two years. I tried dating a bit, but every time, It became apparent to any person I wai. dating that I was not going to leave my father's side and that caused problems. l:.ventually, I decided to forget about trying for a relationship. I mourned that for a long time, even though I had come to the philosophical position that my destiny was to care for my father, and that my love for him was so great that my concetns about relationships and having a family of my own were trivial. But It was hard and I felt acutely lonely a lot of the time. And we lived a hard life.

Cven with me sharing the costs, we lived in poverty, poverty that could have been avoided if the Salvation Army had made a true restorative justice payment to my father I was constantly worried about our financial situation as the cost of living (groceries, bllls) kept increasing over time. The house was falling into disrepair (the guttering was shot and it needed restumping) but I could not do anything about it. It is very cold in winter where we lived and I was worried about my father's health as he was prone to colds (he got pneumonia one year) but when I approached real estate agents about selling the house so we could move and rent somewhere warmer (we would never have been able to get another mortgage), I was told it was in too poor a condition to sell and that It needed repairs we could not afford, so we were stuck - I fretted about my father gelling "•ck Our car got older and older but I could not afford to replace It. I worried constantly it

would give out on us. I developed anxiety about my father driving il and something going wrong while he was driving (he got extremely upset at the thought of the cost of car repairs - it was an

Signature~

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STAT.0222.001.0013_R Statement In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

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acute reminder of his poverty). so 1insisted on accompanying him when he drove anywhere, and was tense the whole time. I also felt very protective of my father and wanted to be there with him in

case anyone paid him disrespect When I was a young teenager, the children on my school bus

threw rock~ out the window at my father's old car (he drove me to the bus stop because he could not <>fford to drive me to school) and yelled out "dole bludger," which made me very upset, and therefore given his old car, I hild this fear that something like that might happen to him again,
or things that would

be

required for an older person not able to do some thing~ for themselves. I worned about what would happen to him if I died - I knew no-one would understand him well enough

in

the way 1did

to make sure he was properly cared for - It took me my entire life to really understand my father

Signature:~-· · · · · · · · · Witness:~~~-.-:---

STAT.0222.001.0014_R statement in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Chlld Sexual Abuse

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Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

and all his 'triegers' (things that made him distressed) and how to avoid upsetting him . I thoughl

often about going to the Salvation Army and telling them what was happening to us, but I knew there was no point _ my mother had approached them on a couple of occasions following their payout after the amng of 'The Homies' and the $30,000 payout and she was ignored (as she'd been ignored before the airing of 'The Homies') and anyway I thought they were a bunch of bastards who only cared about their reputation and since this rebounded after the airing of 'The Homies', 1 felt there was no point 1n approaching them as they had all the power and we had

none, t1nd the spotlight was not on them anymore. My anxiety was crippling me. Worse, my anxiety

was

worrying my father greatly, and that in itself made me very upset because I

was

supposed to be making his life better, but Instead I was making him suffer by watching me suffer (eventually I got presCTibed Valium because about a year ago I started having massive attacks of

terror at night - before that, I had a year of waking up In terror, but I could handle that reasonably well). I felt extraordinarily guilty all the time at my inability to make things better for my father I

will never stop feeling guilty that I could not be a better daughter to him and provide him with a comfortable llfe, even though I did the best I could possibly do.

I said above that my suffering and losses or.curred far earlier, however, than the tirne I spent living

w ith my fother at Benarkin, and I think this is relevant By way of background, from the age of 15, when I started to understand what had happened to my father and why he was in the position he was In, I turned into the classic over-i\chlever 1n an effort to be a success so I could save mv family from poverty because I'd seen my father fail time and time again to lift himself out of poverty becauc;f' of his disabilities (see Appendix 9, letters from psychiatrist Professor Beverley Raphael and Appendix 10, a letter from psychiatrist Perce Tucker). I worked like a dog from 1990 onwards.

I was Dux of my school, a champion debater, won five subject prizes, got an OPl, and got double

Signature~.....................................

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honours degrees In Law and Economics. I worked far, far too hard and my health suffered as a result I developed negative coping skills In my obsession with providing for my family, including repressing my own feelings and refusing to acknowledge or get treatment for my own infanVchlldhood/adoles,ent traumas for a long time because I did not think they were important in the grand scheme of things relative to the more Immediate needs or my family, and anyway I did not have time to do anything about it. I neglected and lost romantic relationships before I moved to Benarktn because I was obsessed with trying to rescue my family from poverty and to nurture them properly and people I was dating said they felt they weren't as important to me as mv father and my family. I gave away all my spare money to my family in various ways and took out loans to

h~lp

them when I did not have enough money of

mv own. I obse.,.,ed about ways to

help my father financially. I tricked him frequently by doing things like putting cash In his wallet when he

wclS

not looking and got away w ith it because I put an small amounts at a time so he

would not notice. I bought things for him that he could not afford and pretended I had been given them for free. I paid for things for him that he needed and lied about the true cost to subsidise him. Sometimes, I could not think of a ruse to hide what I had spent or was about to spend and had lo see my father upset and embarrassed (e.g., when I bought him a car). I tried to ameliorate my father's shame at not being able to help the rest of my famlly nnancially (he suffered terrible Shilme at his tnabfllty to be a good provider) by doing precisely the same sorts of things for them and things got even worse when my parents separated when I was 21 because the costs were higher because then there were two sets of accommodation costs. I neglected my own health and needs because of all of this. For example, I denied myself dental attention for yeilrs and lost four teeth because I did not go to the dentist much. I went without sleep very, very often in an effort to climb career ladders by proving my worth so I could get a raise and better provide for my family and often burned out and got sick. I was bad at maintaining social relat1onsh1ps because I

Signature: ..

••.

... ...................................

Witness~~~

STAT.0222.001.0016_R

Statement in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handllng of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Statement or Aletha Blayse continued

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often would not do social things because I wanted to use the time to work to get money for my family. By the time I was

31 •

a~er

16 years of this kind of life and the constant worry, from

. IP t mupa1r at never being abl

e to do enough to help and the negative effects that all of that had on •

my mental health, that 1 'burned out'. The last 7 years of my hfe have been 1ust as hard as the preceding times bectluse of the constant worry, and I have gotten even more run down than I was before, possibly because l was older and the vigour of youth helped a bil before to make the unsustoinnblc possible. 1 did all that I did over the years while handicapped by my own traumas.

Caring for my father to the best of my abilities and being there to keep him company gave me enormous personcll sat1sfact1on and was the only right decision to make, but it was extremely hard beccJuse he was suffering so much. His depression was very, very bad, and ~used me a lot of distress. The only thing I stumbled across that ever worked to make my father a less depressed and more motivated to get up each day with some feeling of hope was the idea of doing the blog, about a year before he died. When I found my father dead in the living room, 1t was not JUSl the worst thing I have ever experienced

in

my life, it was the cruellest thing I think could possibly

he1ve happened to us After a year of work, and with his blog finally being very widely read, and given what was happening at the Royal Commission, I thought that with the c;potllght finally back on the Salvation Army, we might have a chance at getting proper compensation and our lives would changP and all the suffering would finally end. I went to bed before it happened happy because I had started dreamine of us having a comfortable and secure life, maybe being ilble to move lo a nice httlP place near a beach where my father would be more comfortable and f would not hdvc lo worry about him getting pneumonia again, and seeing him be<>t the worst of 1s

Signature~....................

STAT.0222.001.0017_R Statement in the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Clai ms of Child Sexual Abuse

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Statement of Aletha Blayse continued ~~~~~~~~~~~-

depression and go on to hve a normal lifespan '" comfort <>nd petlce. I now find I cannot eat prope1 ly i..-~, ~use I Iook at food and oy because I used to mat1.e the nicest things I could (and present them bf>autifully) for my father to try to encourage him to eat more and every lime I did I remembered the horrible food he was served at Alkira and it upset me greatly to think about food now _ tt was okay when he was living because 1 was doing something to compensate for what hoppl"n<'d to him - now I cannot ever make It better. I have lost 7kg since my Father died but 1 do not seem to be able to make myself eat enough bec~use I get so upset. One ot the consequences of my f
h1~ p~ychological

problems as a result of the abuses at Alklra - see Appendix 9 and Appenduc

10) and h<>d lifelong trouble with food - it took really nicely prepared and presented food to

encourage him to eat a lot of the time even though he knew he should eat more - he was not stupid, he 1ust had a lot of trouble with food. I also find my'ielf feehns like I do not ever want to do .:inythlng nice tor myself because my father did not set enough nice things m his ltfe and we never got to have a normal life like other people where we had enough holiday!I and mce things .md were not constantly sick with worry about money; every Lime I try to do something ~ens1ble that cvcryon~ keeps telling me I should do, hke going away for a couple of days somewhere for a while and st;:>ying with people who would put me up at a place at the beach, I get too upset to do 1t because I was not able to afford to take my father to the beach enough

over the last 7 years

and I fPel like I cannot enJOY something he was denied and I could not provide for him enough while he was ahve and it brings me back to despair again at the thought of the loss of the future I thought we were going to have.

Signature~ .................=-...........

STAT.0222.001.0018_R Statement In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern T erritory' s Handling of Claims of Chlld Se xual Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

Pa g e 1 8 o f

1

35

1 am also havmg s1gn1fkant problems with t he last image I have of my father. W hen I found my father dead the ne)(t mommg after going to sleep the day before thinking we might finally be okay soon, he looked ~o uncomfortable the way he was sitting. I wanted lo make him com fortable and put a pillow under his head but I could not IY'Ove him. I cannot get the Image out or my mind, and 1 feel distressed that he w as not comfortable throughout his life; the last image 1 have of him, looking like he was uncomfortable, is what keeps coming into my mind no

matter how many photos of 'happy times' (there were some, but not that many - I 'itartC'd to get up-.et

any time when things looked like they might be getting better becauc;e t hey never tasted -

my father tried .ind failed to maintain jobs or make 4l go or things many, many times) over our life I look at to try to make the image go aw ay. I also feel guilty because I forgot to check before I

went to bed that he had had his Sustagen (sometimes, when nothing I suggested/served interested him, he would manage a Sustagen that I would mix vp for him) before I went to sleep

(I had mixed one up and left it in the fridge but forgot to bring it to him before I w ent to sleep). It probably would not have made a difference, but I cannot stop thinking about iL I do not know 1f this feehf1g of guilt and sorrow is ever going to go away. Now I do not ever get to see my father

in

success

at

a good place and the realisation that w e may have only been weeks away from

achieving proper compensation is goine to haunt me for t he rest of my life. Why did the !>alvat1on Army not just do the right thing by us when he w as alive? How can it sit back and say everything 1~
it not understand that the consequences of abuse

do not just affect the victims appallingly - they affect all those who love them? How can Its members ltve with themselves?

I nm about to lose the home I shared with my father. The mortgage company has said I have to prove to them that I am able to make the repayments on the mortgage now that my father 1s

Signature:

~ ........................

STAT.0222.001.0019_R Statement In the matter of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Handling of Claims of Child Sexu al Abuse Statement of Aletha Blayse continued

Page 19 of 35

dead or they will foreclose on me. I cannot prove this to them . The place I shared with my father

Is $pecial lo me t do nol want to lose it. I want to keep 1t.

But the absolute worst part of all of it Is this: my father suffered psychogenic stomach pain every

day since leaving Alk1ra He died of a ruptured abdominal aorti' aneurysm . I am distressed about the way he died because although my father was obsessive about communicating his needs in resoect of good nutrition and self-care when he had a carer with him (e.g .. he stopped eating things with preservatives in them about a year ago because he told me he wJnted to hve to 100) and althounh since I came up to llve with him at Benarkin and made it clear that there would be no more covering up of problems he was experiencing, and although he would

always tell me

over lhe last 7 years when somethi ng was wrong (even when he had a headache), stomach pain was Just something that was there for him a// the time and it was the one thinq in the last 7 years

he did not draw to my attention other than to occasionally say that he wished that one day at might go ilwc:iv. What I am !>iJytng 1s that because of the abuse at Alkira that gave him the stomach pain. he most likely would have ignored any warning signs that might have been present that could have alerted me to the

d f h. · nee or 1m to get medical attention when there m1eht still

have been time because he

· most certainly have put any pain he was feeling down to the

wou

Id

usual pain and perhaps just thought it was a bit higher than usual but probably nothing to worry about. I keep wondering: were it not for this, could I have saved my fath er's life? (I h<>ve read that the nsk period for whr:>t my father died of starts at 65 and I feel strongly that his doctor would have !)tarted getting him screened when he turned 65 - when he died, he had only recently turned 64.)

S~natu~:.~-...-.u-...-~.-.--.--.-u.-..~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ Witness ;-.-~~ :~ t? .A..e:::? /

....

~···~

STAT.0222.001.0020_R

Statement ln the matter of the Salvat i on Army Eastern Territory 's Handling of Clai m s of Child Sexual Abuse Statement or Aletha Blayse continued

Signed:

Date:

Page 20 of JS

~· · · · · · · · · · · · · ,,26 ;u A-;e.c fl~ -2c;1If- _

~"::!~~ Date:

26

"'! 1'112CH 2Pl l.f,

Sognature~=-=-..~....-... -

-

- -- --

..............

7 -----::----

Witness:~~~~~

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