What do Roman Polanski and Robert Boughen have in common? Well, for a start, they are both revered. Some people are wondering why Polanski seems to be the exception in the #MeToo movement sweeping the entertainment industry. Sometimes a person is just so damn gifted; it seems we will forgive them anything.
Sometimes, a giant in the field you aspire to be part of will turn a different gaze on you; you will momentarily believe that any special attention from them is somehow divinely ordained. You might find it strange – the suddenly ‘friendly’ behaviour from a reputed ogre. But after all, here you are in the heights, where you often dreamed of being, and this person practises the highest standards of the art you have always dreamed of mastering. You are so grateful; unlike the other students who tearfully leave lessons after being harshly criticised, you seem to be spared the worst of his sarcasm. Of course, this will not last. When he tires of you, he will flay your spirit with his judgement that you ‘play like a typist’, that he can ‘detect your frigidity in your playing’. But by then, you have changed. You are no longer the innocent, ambitious youngster who practised hours every day with single- minded purpose. You’ve decided you are a ‘beautiful woman’, just like he said. You seemed to have skipped a vital part of your adolescence, the part where you meet a boy and you hold hands, then kiss, then make fumbling attempts at sex.
I never had this. My introduction to sex was brutally unexpected, and came from a source that was supposed to be a trusted mentor to a gifted young musician.
Professor Freda Briggs managed to achieve what others have so far failed to do, although she, and the man who bravely came forward about his mother’s allegations, would not be thanked for their efforts. In 2002, the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane and Archbishop Hollingworth were investigated regarding their response to complaints of child sex abuse. As a result, I was sent “Document 32”, which I believe was redacted from the final Report, as this email from Prof Briggs explained.
Professor Briggs advised me to go to the media. I did, many times. The few times an article got published, more victims would contact the journalist. But this is Queensland, home of the infamous Heiner Affair, remember? The State with no watchdog Upper House, where vested, corrupt interests seem to be behind such disparate activities as horse racing and religion.
I’m sick of the ‘don’t rock the boat’ mantra preached by my deeply conservative family. I’m fed up with not hearing back from journalists, especially the ones who vow to blow this case wide open, who promise to see ‘what they can find out’ about my abuser. This is Queensland, where the powerful, corrupt, child-exploiting elite laugh at the struggles of victims like myself and my family.
Not content with consigning my case to the ‘don’t bother with this one’ basket, the authorities have also ignored a respectful approach from the son of a 12 year old victim. Was he thanked for his courage? No! As a result of what he did, after seeing a story about my abuse, he lost his vocation as a priest, his marriage, and his health. One would think, given his close family connection with the former University Chancellor, that his complaint about a Lecturer would have received the serious attention it deserved. Of course it did not, and the cover-up of my abuse aged 17, and his late mother’s abuse when she was aged 12, is perpetuated by vested interests in this State.
Want to sue me for defamation, Terry? It’s a bit late for that. My story has been up on the SNAPAustralia website for years. Somebody I didn’t know even emailed to caution me. I replied that my truth is more important than my life, which I would willingly sacrifice in the name of justice. Moreover, I own nothing. Everything I possess today would fit on the back of a ute with room to spare.
My family (except for my daughters) has rejected me; my former colleagues subscribe to the notion that I was a promiscuous young girl. Only my teachers from Years 11 and 12 remember the serious, other-worldly, studious 17 year old, the major prize-winner at Speech Night 1968, who had such extravagant dreams of the concert stage.
Today is the 4th anniversary of the death of Lewis Blayse/Lewin Blazevich, my husband, father to our three children, and grandfather to our one grandchild, whom I have never met.
It should be a sad day for our family; Lew didn’t live to see justice, or have his day in court at the Royal Commission. His extensive writings haven’t been published; his books full of formulae about mathematics and quantum physics sit waiting for us to scan them. His prolific mathematical art work fills pages with beauty that we want to share. His hilarious poetry deserves a wider audience. It was my privilege to share his suffering, although I didn’t measure up in the end. I didn’t secure him the opportunity to speak his truth in a court of law. It is probably a coincidence that we married; me coming from middle class ‘stability’; he from dire poverty, both inflamed by the zeitgeist of the 60s, marching in the Moratorium, discovering we didn’t speak the same language as our parents. You can see the hope in our faces in this photo when he was 19 and I was 17.
In Lew’s case the language barrier was State-conferred. Home Kids were beaten for speaking their native language. He would never learn about his Macedonian heritage, as his father spoke little English. When he did communicate, he told Lew about the thousand years of struggle waged by his people, the caves they fled to during invasions. In Yugoslavia, each ethnicity seemed to hate each other ethnicity. It was a far cry from my staid Congregationalist roots.
It was a proud moment for us both when Lew graduated with Honours in Science.
I dedicate today’s post to my husband. I’m sorry to have failed you in so many ways, Lew. I hope the bonds that once united our tumultuous, dysfunctional tribe are not broken forever.