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A soul mate, a community of fellow survivors in Christchurch, and poetry have all helped Jack to survive and emerge from a childhood devastated by trauma.
He was eight years old, playing in the middle of a street in Auckland, hoping that a car would run him over and end his tortured life. It takes a lot to make a child wish for death.
Jack was raped for the first time as a five year old; by his brother. He grew up in a devastated family and Jack quickly became a discarded child. Discarded first by his mother, and then by the state. He lived on the streets. He lived with foster families. Once, his mother kidnapped him from his foster family so she could collect some money from the state. One of his foster fathers, a martial arts expert, used Jack as a punching bag.
At the age of ten Jack was placed in a boy’s home. He refused to join one of the gangs, so he was preyed on by everyone, repeatedly and brutally raped. After two years he was sent to live with his long-absent father in Australia. There, he endured more beatings and so ended up on the streets, his only solace found in drugs.
He did three stints in prison in Australia, the last for severely beating a neighborhood pedophile. It was prison that triggered Jack’s transformation. He could not imagine spending his life there.
He was deported back to New Zealand, where he discovered the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust. He found a community of men, his new brothers. He found help in counseling. He found Liz, his soul mate, and together they are re-introducing Jack to his Maori roots, and discovering pathways to heal his soul.
Jack has found expression of his new-found hope in poetry. He recites:
The bird’s wings dancing in flight
like angels playing with your heart
As the water touches my feet I feel
A sense of one with the water
And the warmth of the sun touching my soul
And the love of life that matters to me