A woman says when her mother married the Salvation Army officer who abused her as a child, she wasn’t believed and was kicked out of home.
A woman who’d been abused as a young girl says she felt doubly betrayed when the Salvation Army officer who raped her ended up marrying her mother.
The woman, identified only as JD, told a hearing into child sexual abuse in Sydney her mother and her church disbelieved her story of abuse which started when she was a four-year-old attending an army Sunday School in Queensland.
“I was one of their own and they turned their back on me,” said JD.
When JD was 18 her mother told her she was going to marry the army envoy who taught at the school.
JD said her mother accused her of lying about the abuse because “I didn’t want a new daddy”.
She and another girl who had been raped by the man went to see Colonel Stan Everitt, the army’s divisional commander for south-east Queensland.
He asked them if they were making it up and told them not to go to police.
JD told the commission on Friday she was still angry.
“I came to him (Mr Everitt) as an 18-year-old girl. I needed help,” she said.
“The man who abused me was going to marry my mother … They were married in a Salvation Army church. I was kicked out of home.”
She described sexual abuse as one of the most evil things to happen to a child and said it was a “terrible thing” when an institution like the Salvation Army reacts like it did.
“I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was a little girl going to church and a predator got me,” she said.
“Because he wanted to and he could.”
She was told by the army that Mr Everitt, who is now old, was refusing to apologise because “he did nothing wrong”.
Other witnesses told Friday’s hearing they felt disbelieved and unsupported by the Salvation Army.
Cherryl Eldridge was placed in Horton House, a Salvation Army orphanage in Toowoomba, Queensland when she was six.
She never knew why she, her six sisters and their brother were taken from their home.
At Horton House when she wet the bed, the sheets were rubbed in her face.
She was beaten with a belt and a strap and locked in a storage cupboard, by a matron who seemed “out of control” during the beatings.
Three witnesses on Friday were asked by counsel for the Salvation Army Kate Eastman SC, what they would like the army to do by way of apology.
Ms Eldridge said she found the question offensive.
“I find if you, The Salvation Army, really wanted to give me a genuine apology, and really mean it you would not be asking me the question – how do I expect you to apologise to me or any of us who went through what we went through.”
One man, who had been kept in solitary confinement at the Salvation Army’s Riverview Training Farm in Queensland in 1971 where he was made to sleep where he defecated, vehemently refused to accept an apology.
“If I see one of those uniforms come within a metre of me, you’d better be there … okay, just keep them away from me,” the man said.
“If I see that Gestapo come near me …,” he added.