Abuse remembered

Bassendean resident Gerry Coleman outside St Matthew's Church in Guildford. Picture: Marcus Whisson d420259
Bassendean resident Gerry Coleman outside St Matthew's Church in Guildford. Picture: Marcus Whisson d420259

This is how Gerry Coleman remembers his days at a Christian Brothers high school in County Dublin, Ireland.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has evoked distressing memories for the man known as the Little Irishman.

‘The inquiry has brought back painful memories of what should have been the best years of my life,’ Mr Coleman said.

He said he never thought he would use the words sadistic and Christian in the same sentence, but said cruelty and abuse knew no borders among Christian Brothers’ schools.

Mr Coleman said fear and humiliation was an everyday occurrence at the school he attended.

‘Hate is a very ugly word but the only one that comes to mind when thinking of my school days,’ he said.

Mr Coleman has now turned his back on Catholicism, but is still a Christian and attends an Anglican church in Guildford.

He is hopeful the inquiry will help victims.

‘I think it is a good thing for people to talk about it and bring it all out into the open,’ Mr Coleman said.

‘In my opinion, for what it’s worth, it is a good thing and may help people knowing that they are not the only ones and talking about it will help in some way.

‘Personally it makes me feel so sad to think that these people have these memories for the rest of their lives, and have been deprived of those fun and happy years,’ he said.

– If you were sexually abused as a child while in the care of an Australian institution, you can tell your story to the Royal Commission by phoning 1800 099 340 or emailing contact@childabuseroyal commission.gov.au