Stolen innocence

Garry Hertzberg.

JACK’S first sexual encounter and the first time that he had ever been drunk or high was in a caravan park with a man who was almost five times his age.

His abuser told Jack’s parents that they were going on a fishing trip with a group of boys. This ‘fishing’ trip turned into a nightmare for Jack as he was raped and drugged at the tender age of 12 by a 50-year-old man.

It took Jack two years to tell his parents that the man, who was not only his mother’s employee but also a close family friend, had raped him. After hearing this traumatic news, his father phoned the abuser and demanded an explanation.

It is at this point that this story takes a haunting turn.

Instead of denying that he had raped their son, the abuser apologised and said he couldn’t believe that he had done to their son what his father had done to him. The man then begged Jack’s father to call him the following day as he was at home with his family and did not want them to find out. When Jack’s father phoned him the following day, he said he was sorry and implored him not to go to the police. Jack’s father said it was up to his son to decide whether or not they would take legal action.

Jack made a very mature decision and decided to report his abuser to the police. He realised that a rapist had no right to get away with rape. This, however, turned out to be a brave but innocent notion. The matter did go to trial, but justice was not served. After four years of driving to and from a courtroom, his abuser was acquitted of all charges. Jack’s mother believes that the legal system failed her boy.

This story does not have a happy solution, but Jack has used this experience to inspire others and make a change. He refuses to allow his abuser to ruin his life. Perhaps it is karma, rather than the legal system, which will restore moral balance within our society.


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Garry Hertzberg

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