Parent Survivors: The story of how paedophilia touched one family

Rolf Harris convicted Pedophile

July 2nd, 2014

Another sad day for many. Rolf was someone I loved and adored as I grew up.  As a child and teen I would have put him in the same category as my father – a man to be loved, trusted and looked up to. I would have loved to meet him and would have been star struck if that occurred.

But it’s likely that something else might have happened and I could have become one of his victims too. Right up to the ruling he was denying he’d done anything wrong and wouldn’t accept it in court. Singing and behaving as if he was in a show was truly ridiculous but indicative of someone who wasn’t accepting what was taking place. My father also denied he’d done anything wrong right till his death.

Sadly I think these people really, truly believe that what they’d done was ok (for them) and although the world didn’t understand it, there was nothing wrong in what they were doing. So sad. So sick.

While I feel badly for the victims in this case, I also really feel for his family.  At least when we were going through the challenges in our family about what my father had done to our daughters, it was not in the eyes of the world and public at large, and our family and my mum and sisters have been able to keep their anonymity. I won’t ever share who they are, unless they decide to step forward publicly to say what had happened to them. But I hope these writings help others who are going through this hell, whether right now, or having the horror of finding out it took place years ago, as we had done.  We were denied the right to protect our children and have my father charged and have his day in court… all because our girls were over 16 (older actually) when they finally told us.

My dad is dead, I never went to say goodbye and didn’t speak to him for probably the last 6 years of his life. Our girls have never seen him brought to justice for what he did to them, and for the childhood he robbed from them. But at least they know he can’t hurt anyone else. I worry for those who dad had touched but hadn’t come forward when the opportunity was still there. The police did contact many people whom we thought might have been involved, but they denied anything happened or didn’t know what the police were talking about. While the police didn’t come right out about why they were visiting these people it was clear that it had something to do with my parents. Mum has shifted now so no-one from their old area will be able to locate her, if they finally acknowledge what he did. I hope and pray they’ll be able to get the help they need when that time comes.

I believe that Rolf Harris will never get out of jail, or perhaps, might not even make it there. He’s aged, he’ll now be feeling in despair, disillusioned, upset that the world has turned against him and feeling that he’s let his family down badly. I doubt he’ll be in this world much longer. The retirement years he would have been wanting to enjoy will be no more. I feel sorry for his wife. Did she have any inkling?

Did my mum? I have no idea. But then I look back now and see the hints from all those years ago. Things my school friends said to me about my dad being a ‘dirty old man’. I had no idea what they meant. I was very innocent, naive and had little to no knowledge of what sex was, let alone anything else. All I know is that dad never touched me like that while I was growing up. My mind and my heart are seriously conflicted. I loved the man my father was when I was growing up, I hate what he turned into.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by this type of crime and disease, please get help.  Don’t let it simmer away in the background. You need help, or the person you know, and the person who did it needs to be locked away, or dealt with so that they never do that to any other child.

Every day more articles and news

May 26th, 2014

It seems almost every day of the week, more stories relating to child abuse and child sexual abuse hitting the headlines of the newspapers and the TV. When will it stop? It won’t. And that’s a sad sign of the times in our society.

When a sick proportion of our community feel it’s ok to interfere with young children and abuse them, knock them around, sexually penetrate them or otherwise, and feel it’s their right to do so, how can we win and protect our children? I dread to think how life will be as our own grandchildren grow up.  What kind of safe environment will they have?

Two more prominent stories in the news.

Derryn Hinch has just completed a 180km walk over a 10 day period called Jail 2 Justice. He has dared to stand up and name to shame and bring to the attention of the general public, people we should be wary of and protect our loved ones from. And a judge broke down in court when convicting a serial pedophile priest in Melbourne.

What can I say? Read the articles for yourself.

Sit on his lap: Rolf Harris

May 15th, 2014

If you read newspapers, read the internet or listen to the radio or watch TV, there is no way you can be avoiding the news about the accusations with Rolf Harris in the UK. I was shocked when the news first came out. I idolised Rolf as a kid as did millions around the world. How could he possibly do that? Surely it was a mistake?

Now the story is coming out all the familiar phrasing I connect with my own father’s dirty deeds are being used for Rolf Harris. He would get them to ‘sit on his lap’. Friends (victims) would refer to him as a ‘dirty old man’.  And other things. And the worst part is that he was trusted as a friend of families and those he was connected with through what he did professionally.

It makes me sick. The scenarios described, even the years this took place, run parallels with what my father did (also in the 1980s).  The article describes of how a girl started experiencing panic attacks (as did one of our daughters) and ‘worse than normal’ teenage problems.  We had three daughters who fit that description.  One girl is described as taking to drinking. This is what our now deceased daughter did.

And there was mention of one girl having reported in the ’90s of her abuse to counsellors and psychiatric experts. No doubt they did not feel compelled to tell the parents – as this happened in our case too. And yet, if we’d been told at that stage, we could have reported the incidents to the police while our daughters were still under age and we could act on their behalf.  What makes them think that our daughters’ privacy needs to be protected, when the child themself, needs to be protected? Surely, as parents, we had the right to do what we could to protect them further and bring the perpetrator to justice?

We feel very let down by ‘the system’. Why weren’t our girls protected by the very people who were supposed to be helping them with their problem(s)?  Why were we, as parents and guardians, kept in the dark?

I hope that those who have been abused by Rolf Harris are heard and believed and he is charged accordingly, despite his age. They deserve some kind of acceptance and belief and understanding and, most of all, justice, no matter how small.

I hope the focus on Rolf Harris and the child/sexual abuse will prompt others to come forward and report things that have happened to them. I hope that those who were abused by my father, and who have not yet come forward, will do so, even if just to make the report and discover he has passed away. It will help prove what we’ve always known to be true to those who do not believe (mainly other family members).

Robert Hughes sentencing

April 9th, 2014

Just been watching the interview on Channel 9 of the “Hey Dad” crew on “A Current Affair”. While I hadn’t been aware of the full story of what had taken place all those years ago it was very touching listening to everyone speaking about what happened all those years ago, what they’ve been through since, and in particular the ostracism of the past 4 years since the story came out publicly.

I really felt for Sarah when she shared about not seeing or speaking with her mum since then. Her mum felt she’d done the wrong thing. It was also discussed how Robyn Gardiner, Robert’s wife, had stood by him but it was unknown whether it was for love, through denial, or what.

I have to admit I’ve felt that about my own mother. I know she loved dad and she was married to him for over 50 years. But to deny what had been happening to her own grandchildren is a very difficult thing to bear. If only mum had apologised, and said she hadn’t known and she was sorry. But no, it was complete denial and she was upset we’d ever say anything like that about my father.

Why would we lie about his interfering with 3 of our daughters and changing their childhood and lives forever?  Doesn’t the suicide of one of our daughters show the depth of what she went through?

Even my own sisters have ignored what happened, with one telling me to sweep it under a mat and get on with my life and the other denying that anything could have happened. Only my brother acknowledged it because he, himself, had found child porn on my father’s computer and was shocked at that time, even moreso when he discovered that my children had been victims. The result was that my brother and his wife shifted their whole family interstate, to the other side of the country.

People react in different ways, some remain resolute and strong, others quake and break under the weight and enormity of what has taken place. For us, our own family has been broken and while we have moved on with our lives, there is an undercurrent that will never go away. We have lost a daughter and a sister, and future grandchildren too. Our family will, forever, remain victims of this horrible sickness – pedophilia.

As mentioned on the TV show tonight, if you have been affected by this as a victim and/or know someone who has, please do reach out to the authorities. Make sure something is done. Because the perpetrator will continue to keep doing this terrible thing till either they’re caught, or until they’re no longer physically able to continue, as was the case with my dad. My biggest regret is that we didn’t know till it was too late, and we couldn’t act on behalf of our daughters, and see justice, with my father being sent to jail because of what he had done.

One more thing. I do believe that my father really, truly believed he was loving our girls. And I feel that many others who suffer this sickness also believe that. They don’t believe that what they’re doing is wrong, although they know that the world feels that way, which is why they keep this thing secret, and also teach the children (their victims) to keep it a secret too.  My father denied what had happened and said he loved our girls and would never hurt them. The trouble is I believe he felt he wasn’t doing anything to hurt them, but to love them. A very sad thing and he died a bitter man (so my brother has told me), angry and hurt that his eldest daughter (me) no longer wanted anything to do with him. The father I knew and loved as a child was no more and I grieved and mourned this over many years, long before my dad died in the flesh.

Life sentence for victims

January 17th, 2013

I was reading this article and there is very little said about the mother or victim, it’s mainly about the perpetrator.  However, what the mother of the victim said is very true. When a child has been molested it is a life sentence.  We know that as much as any parent whose child or children have been damaged by a paedophile.

For us it was a death sentence for one daughter. She could not live with what my father, her grandfather, did to her. She was the one that was touched and damaged the most.  But our other two daughters are also damaged and will be for the rest of their lives. One has chosen to marry another woman because she cannot bear the thought of a man touching her. She is happy with her life but it also means she may never have any children. The other wouldn’t wear dresses at all while she was growing up. It never occurred to us why. We just thought of her as a tomboy, as many girls can be.  But recently she shared with me that it was the man she fell in love with who convinced her to start wearing dresses and skirts again. She told me why she wouldn’t wear them.  This was something she’d never shared before. Thankfully she has put the past behind her, mostly, but of course there is still a part of her life that is cautious, and she has good reason for it.

While the article linked above indicates the perpetrator may not have full knowledge of what he’s done, I do hope that his mother is no longer allowed to run the After School Club she was running, otherwise that just makes a mockery of it all. Children need to be protected.  Once they’re damaged there is no way to permanently fix and repair that damage. It stays with them for life and is behind almost every decision they make in life. That is… if they keep on living. Some choose to do what one of our daughters did, and leave this life.

Ladies, protect your husbands

November 20th, 2012

It’s happened and my father has passed away.  I chose not to go to the funeral. The father I knew and loved as a child died years ago. However, I was unprepared for the enormous sense of grief and loss I would experience as a result of his death. No more possibility of acknowledgement of what he’d done, being charged and sentenced for what he’d done, or saying sorry.  From all accounts he’d become a bitter man as my brother did have occasion to speak to him now and then.  I can only say that dad only had himself to blame. He made those choices and, as a result, lost the opportunity to see his granddaughters (and other grandchildren) grow up, or be a part of his life. He never even got to see his great grandson.

A lot of memories have come rushing to the front and even our daughters are coming out with stuff they hadn’t told us before.  Likewise my brother has told me of other events I didn’t know of, including trying to get mum to leave dad about three years ago. She refused. They’d been married almost 56 years. A long time to be with someone.  Mum wouldn’t have known where to go, what to do, or how to start a new life, but now she will need to. I believe she’s planning to shift interstate to live near both my sisters.  Both of which seemed to be unaffected by my father’s actions and, I feel, probably don’t believe our accusations.

In talking to my brother once again, and learning more about his childhood (he was 12 when I left home) I find that dad was responsible for a lot of grief in his life too.  I do remember that dad left a lot of porn magazines lying around when I was just 15 or 16. I used to hide them under other things on the table where he left them in the kitchen.  I didn’t want my younger siblings seeing them. The images in the mags were quite explicit. It’s where I learnt a lot about sexual activity rather than through my own exploration with a loving partner when I was older. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have done to an 8 or 9 year old boy in seeing those images.

What I can’t understand is why mum let dad do that. Why did she not hide the magazines or make him keep them in their bedroom?  What was she thinking? I didn’t know that what they’d done was wrong and it’s really only just hitting me now, some 40 years later.  Even now, if our grown daughters are in our home with their husbands or partners, we are careful what we might be watching on TV. There’s something embarrassing and intimate about watching a couple in the act of lovemaking or sexual play that shouldn’t be a shared experience with others in viewing, especially your own children, irrespective of their age.

I look back now and am starting to remember other things, things that might have forewarned me about dad’s direction of thinking and possible actions… but I just didn’t know. I didn’t realise, I didn’t understand. It was beyond my comprehension to realise that my dad was a pedophile.  I didn’t even know what one was till just over ten years ago. It never occurred to me that men would prefer to be sexually active with children.

If you are living with a man, married to him, or regularly in his company, and particularly if you have young children, be always on your guard. It doesn’t matter how much you love that man and trust him, be on your guard.  Protect the children. Protect your man. Never leave him in a situation where he may do something that can be misconstrued or might lead to other activities that should not occur. Do not let him leave pornographic or other material around that children might view.  Do not let the children use his computer if there’s any chance that material of that nature is saved on the computer. And encourage your children as they grow older, to always dress appropriately when moving around the house, as well as when they leave home.  It’s one thing for a father to admire how his daughter is growing into a beautiful young woman, it’s another if he makes inappropriate comments about how their bodies are developing, as my father did when we were in our teens.

If you protect your man then he won’t be accused later in life and you won’t be left in a position of having to defend him or yourself, or in a quandary about where your loyalties lie. The children should always be protected and this will often mean we need to protect our men too.  I really wish my mum had. Today’s story might have been very different otherwise.

Note:  It was suggested to me I might be tarring all men with the same brush. That is not my intent. But I do want you, the reader, to be vigilant. If you see any of the above signs I’ve mentioned in your home then please let these be warning signs that you might need to be protective of your children and your husband or partner. Even in a friend’s home when it comes to allowing your children to stay there. I’m not saying all men are pedophiles. But I am saying that men can succumb to sexual temptations easily, as a result of things they’ve been exposed to in their growing up or through other activities. And with all that we see on TV and in the movies these days, it’s easy to become numb to the effects of things we once considered shouldn’t be for public viewing.

Seeking reconciliation

September 6th, 2012

This message (below my post) came in today and it is something that weighs with me. I don’t hold a grudge over a lot of people but there is one in particular I find it really hard to forgive. Not just for myself but also for my husband and family.

That person is my father and if you have read this site you’ll know the story. My dad is a paedophile and damaged the lives of 3 of our daughters, resulting in one committing suicide 4 years ago (this month).  We know he would have hurt other children too but as yet, it hasn’t come to light how many or how much.

He has always denied it and my mother feels we are lying but we have plenty of proof that this did take place when our girls were young, except we did not learn of it till they were of age and we were not able to go in to bat for them with the local authorities as a result.  The daughter who died refused to take it to the police and told us she’d put it behind her (even though we always thought that was not the case), another daughter has received healing through prayer and moved on and her mind seems to have little memory of that time, the third has mental health problems and we don’t want to ask her to talk to the police for fear of pushing her over the edge.  My dad has emphysema and is dying. He lives with an oxygen bottle 16 hours a day mum tells me.  We email only very occasionally, usually when I need to know some family medical history.

How do I get over this hurt of what he did to our girls and our family?

My husband would kill him (I really do believe that) if he came in contact with my dad and I’m grateful we live in a different state and neither my dad nor my husband are up to long journeys because of ill health and physical injury.  I would be carrying around one potato (read below to understand this) that wouldn’t appear too heavy for a long time but at some stage it would begin to rot and stink.  It probably does already.

I know when my dad dies I’m going to be in a quandary. Do I go to say my goodbyes and be there for mum, even though I don’t know that I really want to? Do I stay home with my husband who will be very angry and upset if I choose to go?

It’s a difficult dilemma to be in. But this message still speaks to me.


Subject: The Word For Today : Seek Reconciliation

‘…Go and be reconciled’ Matthew 5:24 NIV

Sometimes the only way to get over your hurt feelings is to seek reconciliation. And if you are willing, God will help you do it.

Dinah Craik wrote: ‘Oh…the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.’

A college professor who was teaching on the high cost of unforgiveness asked each of her students to bring a sack of potatoes to class. For each person they refused to forgive, they had to select a potato and write the date on it beside that person’s name. Then for a month, without fail, they had to carry that sack of potatoes with them everywhere they went.

After lugging those sacks around for a while each student began to recognise how much weight they were carrying; the amount of energy it took to focus on their bag; and that they had to be careful not to leave it in the wrong place. Eventually, as the potatoes began to rot and stink, they realised that getting rid of them was the only smart thing to do.

Jesus said, ‘…If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not…’ (John 20:23 NIV)

What happens to them? Good question! How would you like God to forgive you in the same way you forgive others? If that thought makes you uncomfortable, do something about it!

SoulFood: 2 Chron 22-24, Luke 20:27-40, Ps 27, Pr 20:5-6

A friend’s dad has just died

April 22nd, 2012

And why would I post about that here? Because it brings home to me, once again, that one day my own father will also pass away. I have no idea what I might feel on that day.  Relief, pain, hurt, anger, sadness, grief, something else?  Perhaps all of the above?

My father is in his late 70s and I’m in my mid 50s.  The daughter we lost was only 24 when she left this world because of things my father did to her when she was only 10 years old.

I wish that when his time comes I could feel the love and sadness a daughter would normally feel for the father she has loved for many years, but that love has been replaced by hurt and anger and disgust for what he has become.  How do the daughters of other paedophiles feel when their dad passes on?  I hate even the fact that I’m the daughter of one.

If your father is one too I encourage you to share your feelings here.  To help me, and to help others.

It’s been three years…

October 23rd, 2011

It’s been over 3 years now since our beloved daughter took her life.  We’ve learnt to laugh again, and enjoy life, although the past 3 years have not been easy.  We’ve thrown ourselves into hobbies that keep us busy, give us exercise and allows us time alone, as well as mixing and mingling with others.

Some friends have drifted away – perhaps they couldn’t cope with what we were going through. We’ve made new friends who seem to genuinely care for us and are here for us when we have a need.

Our other daughters have gotten on with their lives and we have a grandchild now who continues to be a delight to us.  Still the sadness is with us. Our lost daughter will never marry or give us grandchildren and sometimes we grieve for that.

My father remains free but I have no contact with him or mum.  I do know he’s ill from emphysema(or is it enphacema?) which restricts him from doing much. Good, I hope that means children are now safe if they’re near him, but I doubt it. I hope and pray that there aren’t kids going to their home anymore.  I have warned my mum in the past she shouldn’t be letting this happen. Knowing that all of their children (my sisters, brother and I) have left the state for varying reasons and they only have two grownup grandsons in their state, they are probably feeling very lonely.  Dad should have thought about what the consequences may have been because of his actions.

I hear my friends talk about their elderly parents and the care they give and the love they have for them and sometimes I find it very hard not to cry.  I want very much for my life to be normal and for me to be caring for elderly parents too, but that’s not to be.  We have a huge chasm between us and unless dad can acknowledge what he’s done and ask for forgiveness, then I doubt anything will ever change. If he went to jail now, he’d die in there.

I do not know what I’ll do when the time comes for him to go.  Should I go? Should I be there to support mum?

I know my husband doesn’t want me to go.  I really don’t know how I’m going to feel. Relief? Release? Anger?  Sadness? Grief?  Who knows?  Dad, why did you steal our daughters’ innocence?  And why did you betray our trust in the worst possible way? I have no idea.  I only wish it had never happened, or that my husband and I could have seen all those years ago what was taking place and put a stop to it.

I hope my writings here are helping others in some way, even if just to find out they’re not alone in their grief and sorrow.

Dads do touch other girls

March 15th, 2011

I’ve been watching the Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes story for sometime.  The latest is his daughter coming forward stating her father has always been good to her.  I do believe that Robert Hughes is a pedophile based on what I’ve heard and read. And this belief comes from my own experiences as outlined below.

Well, I’d like to add to that equation. My father was good to me too as I was growing up and I loved him very much.  As did my sisters.  However, that never stopped him from interfering with my daughters and other girls as well. I know he did something to some of my friends only I was too innocent at the time to understand what might have taken place. I look back now at things my friends said to me in my teens and realise that even then dad was exploring boundaries and what he might get away with, while not touching his daughters at all.

Just because a man was good to his immediate family, does not mean that surrounding family members or friends were safe – as Robert Hughes’ niece has shared.

I hope the exposure of this story will encourage others to come forward who have had such events happen in their lives. I know there are girls who my father touched who haven’t come forward and I wish they would.  He deserves to be dealt with accordingly.  It will bring closure to many.  And our daughter might not have died in vain.  At the moment the police can’t do anything unless someone comes forward to tell their story and confirm what we know to be true.

Postnote:  I only post here now when I feel I have something extra to say.  It is now almost 30 months since our daughter died and no more information has come to hand to explain what really happened on that last night of her life.  But now and then we get little tidbits of information shared by others that add another piece to the puzzle.  My father turned 77 today.  I live in another state from him and will probably never see him alive again.  To me, the father I grew up with and loved died years ago and was replaced by a monster and someone I don’t know or understand.  Mum says she doesn’t understand why we persist with our lies but when you’ve been married to someone as long as she has (54 years) I accept she needs to side with her husband.  I sometimes wonder just how much doubt is in the back of her mind.