This post is an extension of my last post. Again, I will not give the names of those wonderful people who have been working (sometimes in hilariously unorthodox ways – Dad would have loved to have met you, Emma!) to help our family deal with the practical matters that must be attended to and to alleviate our burdens at this time. Again, you know who you are, and if I have forgotten to thank you personally, I will as soon as I can.
This post is to specifically thank you all for attempting to get the Salvation Army to enter into discussions with our family regarding true justice for my father – namely compensation. I don’t want to upset anyone further by saying this, but it must be said. The fear Dad lived with as a child was terrible, but so to was his constant fear that the damage done to him prevented him from being the provider to his wife and children that he longed to be. He worried constantly about his wife and children, and felt deep shame at not being able to help one of us in particular, no matter how much I told him it was not his fault. He fought as valiantly as he fought politically to be the provider he was never able to be, and watching his shame every time he realised he could not overcome the limitations he possessed as a result of his childhood ordeals at the hands of the Salvation Army, the Anglican Church, and the Queensland Government was almost too much to bear.
I WILL be discussing compensation with the Salvation Army (and later the other organisations), as there is a pressing need for it. I cannot and will not share the details publicly, as to do so would invade the privacy of loved family member to whom the compensation will go to support, but suffice to say that my resolve is strong, and I will not give up until this person is provided for for the rest of her life and I too may have peace of mind in this regard. There has been no offer this week of any sort from the Salvation Army in relation to this matter, but again, I have complete confidence that they will do the right thing. I am sure they have their hands full with the current hearings, but I fully expect that I will not have to be the one that raises the matter with them; they will come to me and this time, they will not insult or hurt us.
I say all this now because I want all the people I call ‘the activists’ know that it’s okay – I’m okay to deal with this myself. Not immediately, but very soon. It can be chilling and even heart-breaking to communicate with organisations regarding matters such as this. Even if you’re fighting for someone else, it still hurts when the response is not what is hoped for. I do not want anyone but me to go through this on behalf of my father. To the women and men who have been talking with the Salvation Army about compensation, please do not think I do not think you are capable of doing the best possible job for us and please do not think I am not grateful for what you have done. It is simply that I believe it is my responsibility to do what needs to be done now, and it is a responsibility which I intend to fulfill.
A very wise lady with whom I am in contact has made what I think is an excellent suggestion. She has pointed out that there are many, many people who are currently going through hell at the moment. These include the people who are currently giving evidence at the commission. I understand very well the therapeutic value of helping another person when one is suffering oneself. If I may be so bold, I would like to suggest that Dad would have wanted for these people currently going through the ordeal of telling their stories to be supported right now. I hope that you will turn your big hearts to them. I have no idea how, but I am sure that there will be people who will respond to this post with practical information as to how anyone who wants to help current witnesses deal with what they are going through. And as to how other survivors may be assisted.
I also hope people will continue the fight regarding compensation for survivors generally. Statutes of limitations and other obstacles that prevent survivors from achieving justice need to be removed, and they need to be removed now, not years from now when the commission finishes its work. Ploys such as reliance upon the “Ellis Defence” need to be dealt with at a political and legislative level now, so that perpetrators of abuse may not continue to hide from their responsibilities to repair in full the appalling damage they have done to those they were supposed to nurture. More generally, if all of this horror and despair is to end, and end now, we need to make sure that the relevant organisations know that there will be consequences if they do not do the right thing. If money is the only thing they understand, and if they don’t do what’s right because it’s right, let it be the loss of their staggering wealth that they fear and that forces them to change.
More broadly, I know that relevant support organisations will continue their work in providing support for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by child sexual abuse and other forms of child abuse. I hope that they get the coverage they need and the funds they need to continue their work. There are 500,000 Forgotten Australians. God only knows how many more thousands of other survivors there are who need help. I hope that the general public gets behind support organisations to enable them to continue their important work.
Again, I respect greatly what all of you have done for us in relation to this matter and am deeply grateful, and in no way wish to take away from what you are doing by saying I’m okay to handle things now. Here’s a quote from the film “V for Vendetta” from me to you:
“I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”