Survivor Impact Statement

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Today it occurred to me that there are a number of survival skills I have learned which may benefit others, so, like everything that I have achieved in the last few years I am going to share them in the hope that they may make a difference in other people's lives.

Firstly, I am a survivor, not as the legal fraternity would choose to label me as 'victim'. I am not a victim of anything nor anyone and never have been. For the better part of my life I have been a good, quiet and forgiving person until I'd had enough of the hypocrisy of the church and its supposed moral workings. 

When a child is sexually assaulted, indecently exposed to, aggravated assaulted and statutory raped their kid code is scrambled. I liken it to pouring a glass of water into the computer hard drive and expecting it all to work. For as long as I can recall I've been 'trapped' in constant flashbacks to the physical scenes of which are like a short video clip playing over and over in my head. 

The impact that this has had on me and my immediate family over 40 years has been horrific.

These have for decades kept me awake, have interrupted my most intimate moments with others and have featured in nightmare after night terror all my life. So as I discovered today as I was updating my public website, there is a way forward from all of this and it's only a tiny but significant new piece of the jigsaw puzzle to return to normality. 

In 2015 I wrote #realstory which is a book that takes a snapshot of the most significant moments of my life to date and which lead to my reporting my historical sexual assault cases. 

I wrote my #realstory and published it live via Facebook which lead to death threats, countless fake phone calls, my dismissal from my workplace, estrangement from my birth family, segregation in my community and expulsion from numerous social groups as I told my story direct, no longer hidden. The reason I made my story openly public was because I'd reached a point in my life where living another moment of that hell of trapped shame was over. I decided to live a life worth living and I realised that the only court case that will ever see my reach a point of justice and peace is having forgiven my assailant, taken my oppressor to the world court and all through this medium, the Internet.

"...An experiential account of systemic institutional abuse and its impacts on a young mans life and his resilience despite disbelief as he embarks on a cathartic journey of telling his #realstory to the world." - Alexander Hayes (2015)

Today I am reassembling #realstory and by way of my website I am placing all of my life back in the order it should have been chronologically, post by post in as best order as I can recall. I am going to celebrate my life and shut those chapters in order to open new ones. I know this is merely another small mechanism of unscrambling that kid code but it is just on way forward for those who find themselves in the living hell they have due to similar circumstances.

I repeat, I am not a victim and I am used to being attacked for standing up for the rights of others and for forcing the hand of bullies into submission. It is a recurrent living them in my life. I am working very hard through what others would know as PTSD and yet I know the best therapy of all will not come from other people but from country, place, my place and my own peace.

So in summary I wrote my story and published it live on the web.

Here is the book for sale in Lulu Publishers - http://www.lulu.com/shop/alexander-hayes/real-story/ebook/product-22624245.html

Here it is for free as a PDF download - https://alexander-hayes.squarespace.com/s/Realstory.pdf

Here is the book republished in the Living Well website - https://www.livingwell.org.au/from-men/stories-of-mens-experience/alexs-real-story/ 

Here I am presenting at the Beyond Blue stories hosted at the Redfern Community Centre in Sydney Australia.

I have been constantly in contact with survivor groups, self help groups, depression foundations, living well organisations and know that I have perhaps saved a few people, particularly men from certain suicide. They have written me emails, sent me messages in Facebook and via Facebook messenger, via SMS and so on.

What I have discovered is that despite the massive affect this has had on my life there is only one justice and that is in forgiveness -  not a forgiveness that seeks revenge, not a forgiveness that seeks recompense unduly, but a forgiveness that brings those guilty to account because NOTHING WILL EVER REPAY OR RECOMPENSE ME FOR THE TIME AND HEARTACHE THIS HAS ALL CAUSED ME AND MY FAMILY.

This is MY impact statement. 

There is no God, nor heaven, nor hell. Hell as Sartre reminds us is other people.

This impact statement is a testament to my own resilience, my own strength and my own fortitude, with the help of a few I have managed to stay alive. May the spirt of country bless them first.


...and now for some statistics;

AN INSIGHT INTO THE VICTIMS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTIONS

(Based on survivors who told their stories to the abuse royal commission in private sessions)

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GENDER

* Most male (64 per cent)

* Outside of institutional settings, girls make up a higher proportion of victims

* 70 per cent of survivors of abuse in religious institutions male; 66 per cent for institutions managed by secular organisations; 55 per cent for government institutions

* More girls than boys abused in child care and health settings

* More boys than girls abused in places of worship, out-of-home care, social support services, juvenile justice and detention, educational, recreation, sports and clubs, armed forces and youth employment settings

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AGE

* 10-14 most common age of first abuse (46 per cent of victims)

* 28 per cent abused when aged five to nine; five per cent aged under five

* 10 per cent abused when 15-17

* Female victims tended to report that abuse began at younger age than male victims

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OTHER ASPECTS OF THE ABUSE

* Most abused by a single perpetrators; 36 per cent by multiple perpetrators

* Just under 80 per cent of survivors reported multiple episodes of abuse

* Most survivors abused in a single institution

* 37 per cent of survivors said abuse lasted longer than a year; two per cent said longer than 10 years

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DISCLOSING ABUSE

* Some survivors disclose the abuse years later as adults

* Victims took on average 22.2 years to disclose the abuse

* Men took longer than women (average 23.4 years v 19.7 years)

* They most often told someone in authority in the institution, followed by a parent or police

* Only 5-6 per cent of victims report abuse to authorities

* As many as 60 per cent of victims never disclose the abuse

* Some disclosed their abuse for the first time at a private session with a commissioner

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BEING A VOICE FOR OTHERS

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan paid tribute to the courage and determination of survivors who gave evidence at public hearings. "Although a relatively small number, they have given voice to the suffering of the tens of thousands who have been abused in an institutional context in Australia."

Source: Child abuse royal commission, based on analysis of private session data to end of 2016.