‘I have not allowed the abuse I suffered as a child to define me’

Starts at 60 blog
June 20, 2019

By Peter Keogh

Every day I’m inspired by my husband, Sacha. He suffered the most heinous abuse at an orphanage as a child and he was a part of the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Despite that heartbreaking start to his life, he’s survived and at 78 works in our local performing arts centre, entertaining the over-60s.

To a much lesser degree I also experienced incidences of abuse growing up. It was with a lot of support, I was able to become the man I am today, yet I still occasionally suffer from quite debilitating panic attacks and am often anxious. At 74, I’m fortunate to be still working and have the most loving and compassionate friends.

Recently I became aware of the incredible number of people who are still suffering abuse in all kinds of situations. What was brought to my attention was the prevalence of gay people who have either not been able to come out or who have come out and lost families and friendships, as well as those who are suffering abuse for their sexuality on social media. I was saddened to hear that when compared to the general population, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) community who have experienced abuse and harassment are up to 11 times more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime. I grew up gay in much different times, but I hope that in sharing a bit about my story there is someone who can see there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.