Church Of England Boys Society

Some say that when you have run out of energy, run out of sadness and despair that forgiveness is the only thing left to do, to reclaim that which allows peace and healing to come in.

I woke this morning and knew that this is the morning where I tell my story. I did one hundred pushups in a row. No sets of ten.

100 pushups in a row. On my finger tips.

I slept well last night and I am in a clear frame of mind this early morning.

I guess I am still angry but this next part of my story allows me to stop my life's container from rotting away at the core, may be of healing for others or perhaps even encourage others to step up and speak their own. I owe much to Robert Scoble and Shane Horsburgh for their own courage in telling their stories although theirs are different to mine. One young amazing woman who will wish to remain anon.

What I am about to write has been the single most destructive thing that has ever occurred in my life. It is also the single most important thing that has forged my life as it gave me the strength to endure, to be resilient and most of all to NOT live by it.

The Church of England Boys Society (CEBS) is or was a bunch of adults who regularly conducted activities which for the most part were the pastoral outreach of the Church of England, a regular weekly meeting of young men and women who participated in physical activities such as dodge the ball, handball, basketball, soccer, fishing, fire making, craft, camping, sailing, rock climbing, hiking and so on.

I am going to concentrate on the sailing part and the camping part. The part where parents innocently let their children go into the care of responsible adults, both women and men. The part where for all concerned the welfare of the child aged 11 - 13 is in the care of another adult for up to a week at at time.

In the Sutherland Shire, tucked away on the remote shore of the Port Hacking River are Christian camp sites with large accommodation blocks, sailing sheds filled with magnificent boats, dormitories, shower blocks, pools and so on. The Churches also own properties in the Colo River tucked away in remote and inaccessible country deep in the forests, where muddy tracks give way to activities such as dune buggy building and driving skill building.

Had I the guts to follow through I would have torched those buildings that I had doused in kersoene, blown apart that sailing shed with the home made explosives my peers and I became adept at building. Perhaps we might have also taken that individual or two out into the National Park and conducted our own ritualisation of torture and depravity.

But, by the grace of our own parenting, we didn't.

We endured....and I say we because I witnessed things that would make your heart bleed and your knees knock in rage. Again, they are not my story to tell.

I was subject to the depravities of only a few with one individual who led that pack.

Raped repeatedly.

Two long years of it all until I bit and fought and spat and screamed and went berserk. Constant flashbacks.

I confronted my beloved parents at aged 15 and they could not believe it to be true.

Disbelief. To confrontational to deal with.

I repeated the process with those that could have protected us only to learn that they had literally left the country in fear of their lives. From a bunch of very angry and violent 6 feet tall young men looking to revenge.

At age 45 I spoke of the story recently to my Family, to others and now to the world and the story has never changed.

What has changed is me.

I am me and all of me again.

I am NOT what someone thought was a permissible breach of trust, a sexualisation where it lacked in their own lives.

I do NOT forgive the Church, its supposed sacraments, it's legal defence, it's institution, it's protectionism, its inability to empathise and most of all it's complete and utter hypocrisy in light of everything I brought it. Repeatedly. To the front door of the Seminary. To the Ministers. To the highest order gilded lilies in their pathetic gowns and vestry.

I DO forgive those individuals whose lives were forged in such a way that they stooped so low as to find in company a fun that has fundamentally destroyed so many other peoples lives, led to countless suicides (and I know a few) and whose own Families suffered as a result of their behaviours.

It is today that I forgive all of those who caused me such grief and heartache. I cannot help but sob when I write this, tears bouncing off the keyboard but it is time to forgive and to move on and be me. All of me.

So, *draws a deep breath* I urge anyone who knows of my story, anyone who has always wondered why I have been an angry and out of control individual, anyone who knows of me in my various manifestations, all of you who have seen me adopt and adapt and be anything but me to UNDERSTAND why I have avoided being me till recently.

I have seen countless counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, healers, gurus etc. and none of them have been able to give an answer but one - be yourself. 

And so I have. I have loved and cherished my precious Children, I have atoned for my disastrous teenage life by working in prisons across Australia with the worst of the worst offenders, I have worked in Juvenile Justice and saved even a few young lives by giving them coping skills for their own sad lives,.

I have removed children from families as parts of teams in DOCS and FACS whose role it was to protect children. I have run street kid programs to give teenagers alternatives to violence and mayhem.

I have done my bit and will always do my bit and recognise that I am one of many who CHOOSE to not be consumed by the past, to live in the present moment, to speak the truth, to speak out.

I recognise that putting a noose around my neck, pulling that industrial zip lock tie closed with my teeth and kicking that chair out from underneath myself was not a solution to the hurt, to the pain of past. I CHOSE life because I believe in it, that it is not inherently evil.

Yes, I do see more than others because of the depth with which I am prepared to see into living. I am open to looking deeply into what makes us all tick. To observe patterns and to be not afraid to face demons that manifest themselves in the human form. 

I will never be at peace with religion, with supposed order, with apparent confessionals, with sacraments that demand I repent. The sins of the Church, as an institution, as a business, as a collective itself must be brought to bear.

The most fulfilling thing I have been encouraged to do is tell my story. To speak it out aloud. There is room and love in forgiveness. There is resolve in speaking out.

To grow beyond depression, to conquer my anxiety.

I am at peace with this part of my story.

There is a way to live a powerful life.