This Victim Impact Statement has been prepared and written in full by myself, Alexander Hayes.
In identifying as the Victim and as the Complainant in a historical sexual assault case, I hereby describe the physical effects and emotional harm that these matters had at the time of the offences and continue to have upon me to the present day.
I understand that the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is an opportunity for me to participate in the criminal justice process by informing the Court and anyone reading this document of the impact of sexual assault on myself, Alexander Hayes. I do not regard anything I have written as being offensive, threatening, intimidating or harassing towards the offender.
I reinforce that this Victim Impact Statement is about the personal harm that I have suffered as a result of the offenders wilful behaviour that has compromised my physical and psychological well being, both of which are commensurate and not isolated in description.
As a child, one of my greatest joys was attending social events organised by the Church with my Family. I attended Church services and participated in activities which supported the financial and logistical structure of these organisations, which were always described to me as an opportunity to make friends and learn new life skills.
I was enthusiastic about the prospects I had ahead of me when we moved from inner suburban Bexley to the Sutherland Shire of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I was a well adjusted, articulate and happy child when I first joined the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS) in early 1979 at St. John The Baptist Anglican Church in Sutherland, NSW Australia.
Honesty, trust and obedience were reinforced as virtues of this Church activity and yet these values, rules of social engagement and Law were broken by the offender in incidents as detailed to the Court.
The wilful behaviour of the offender compromised my physical and psychological well being, with the effects being nothing less than a catastrophic betrayal of my childhood and adult humanity.
Impact On Family
The core of an individual’s identity across all cultures is considered to be informed from infancy by our immediate kin Family, who always remain central to our reference in life, yet, in my case, the very first impact I felt as a boy just entering his teenager years was alienation from my Family due to sexual assault.
As detailed in Court, the wilful behaviour of the offender immediately compromised my own sense of trust in adult males and as I experienced the fullest extent of hypocrisy and predation, in turn, it caused me to question why my innocence was not protected by those also charged with my care.
The impact of sexual assault on myself has caused shame on my Family as well as a continuing and direct impact on the relationships I have with my immediate Family. I do not know how at the point of writing this Victim Impact Statement how, if ever, I am going to be able to counteract those effects of sexual assault and heal those relationships.
Impact on Relationships
Sexual assault has had a direct and life long impact on the way in which I have been able to express my intimacy with others.
As a boy, my ‘kid code’ was scrambled for want of a better expression.
The wilful behaviour of the offender compromised my capacity to form intimate relationships with others as a teenager and I directly attribute sexual assault as the psychological barrier I have experienced at times in my relationships since with significant others.
As a result of sexual assault, my trust in others, in particular those who travelled through my life journey in long term relationships were compromised by my psychological distress. I also consider that I was denied those moments of innocence as a child exploring and forging those first moments of an autonomous identity and by being sexually assaulted, that impeccable child state ended in an unwelcome catharsis.
The impact of sexual assault on my relationships has been ruinous, contributing directly to my separations, marriage breakdowns and deep sadness across my Family as a result. In all, except one case, my partner was unaware of those specific matters and detail which have now been heard in a Court of Law.
Impact on Friendships
Many of my peers as a teenager noted that I would at times be ‘distant’ in conversation and at times less than convivial in my expressions towards older males who I often attributed wrongly to be of a physical threat to my well being.
My misperceptions of trust were forged in the compromise I found myself in ‘holding a secret’ which I knew would result in ‘grave consequences’ if revealed, for myself and those who I loved most. The wilful behaviour of the offender in sexually assaulting me has without any doubt been a contributing factor in the impact on my friendships with others, particularly older males as described prior.
In the company of others I have continued to experience feelings of anxiety and fear of ‘enclosure’ which has led to my self exclusion from many social events as an adult. The very same changes in my social life have had an impact on others who have been unable to understand my ‘sharp’ demeanour or unexplained hostility.
Holding a ‘secret’ in an everyday mindful state and not being able to speak of what had happened to me for fear of reprisal in its many manifestations is the backbone for the trauma and the behaviours that I have described above. Sexual assault has also caused many ‘unseen’ issues which only those closest to me can attest.
Recurrent ‘flashbacks’ of events and associated physical effects have affected the way in which I interact with friends as medical professionals describe as similar to ‘post traumatic stress disorder’. My experience is that my friendships do not often endure the mayhem that sexual assault causes in breach of trust.
In bringing my story forward, the ability to trust in others is central to what sexual assault has in the past taken away from me.
Impact On Health
The impact of sexual assault on my health is discernible in the many presentations to medical professionals over thirty years in states of anxiety and depression. The state of hypervigilance and the sense of deprivation of liberty that I experienced for so long since that period of sexual assault, I attribute directly to sexual assault.
As a child and as a sexual assault victim I recall suffering episodes of night ‘terror’, uncontrolled sweating, bed urination and ‘sleep walking’ in an uncontrolled state. As a teenager I turned to alcohol and drugs as a means to control my anxiousness and to embolden myself to counteract the fear I felt in a social setting, all of which I believe can be attributed to sustained sexual assault as the primary causal agency. As an adult I continue to suffer from severe insomnia, night ‘terror’ and hypervigilance which all impact on my ability to share the same bed as my partner.
My physical health and emotional well being as an adult have been compromised as a result of the behaviours that became manifest contrary to my innocent disposition prior to sexual assault. Likewise, my attitude towards others and the way I now process conflict has been at times only satisfactory, at times self destructive.
There are not enough pages in this statement to provide the details of all those who have from across the medical profession helped me by listening carefully. My coping skills are due to the goodwill of those medical professionals, community members and friends from around the world who have helped me over three decades to develop ways to counteract the catastrophe of sexual assault and make healthy life choices.
Impact on Career
Since a young age my capacity and capability in social and academic performance, attention to detail and my ability to engage with complex academic challenges have been overshadowed by negative memories of sexual assault.
In fear of returning to CEBS activities and not feeling safe within my family home I recall as a teenager truanting from school, disengaging from the curriculum at times and yet despite this fact a number of my teachers in secondary school, as well as other significant mentors, encouraged me to pursue knowledge to the utmost of my ability. As a result, I have excelled academically and have held senior roles and positions of employment, not surprisingly in the early part of my career in restorative justice and child protection.
Throughout my career as an educator, my prospects of attaining financial security as a result of the impact of sexual assault have been duly direful. My economic position as a result of the effect of sexual assault as described prior in ‘impact on relationships’ has been calamitous and I am struggling now to ‘make ends meet’ which is distressing given my advanced age and lack of financial assets.
In coming forward to speak my story publicly I have been ostracised and removed from communications with a number of professional colleagues who despite their misinformation and lack of collegial empathy claimed my seeking justice in a criminal court as ‘professional suicide’. In coming forward and providing evidence in court, in speaking my story, it is evident to me that sexual assault has had and will continue to have a direct and undeniable impact on my career professional and prospects of promotion.
I attribute the sexual assault that I have suffered as directly compromising the fullest potential and future prospects that I may have attained had I not been a victim of crime.
Impact As Victim Of Crime
I am a good person.
Most days I wake up hopeful and thankful that I have lived a good life despite the fact that the majority of what I have lived has been affected by a crime of sexual assault. The impact of sexual assault has been horrendous on my life and at times has caused me deep pain, feelings of isolation, fear of loss and great anguish.
Sexual assault breaks the rules of society. It is against the Law, against the ethical foundation for humanity and those who break this moral code then own the consequences.
I remind myself and all those who may think otherwise, that as a victim of crime, as a sexual assault victim that the fact remains that I will never ‘get over it’ rather, as a survivor I have learned to live with it.
I am a Survivor.
18th April, 2019