By Kate Hedley April 29, 2014
WHEN Helena Maiolo was 12 years old she was thrown into a bin full of pig slop in a bid to try to shut her up.
More than 40 years later, the Mandurah woman refuses to be silenced.
Just one of tens of thousands who suffered at the hands of abusers while in State care, Ms Maiolo has made it her mission to speak out against child abuse.
Referring to herself, and others who were abused while institutionalised, as a ‘forgotten Australian’, the mother of four chose the opening week of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as the moment to have her say.
“I was told to keep quiet,” Ms Maiolo said.
“But they can’t shut me up now.
“I have a voice and I’m going to use it.”
Placed in care at just two years old following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, Ms Maiolo and her three siblings learnt early on that abandonment was to become a central theme in their lives.
Speaking only for herself – the 56-year-old will not comment on experiences faced by her siblings – Ms Maiolo said being placed in a Salvation Army childrens’ home in Perth at 11 led to “horrific and ongoing” abuse.
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