Swimming coach Scott Volkers coached Julie Gilbert from about 1982 to 1986. Ms Gilbert told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that between the ages of 13 and 14 she was sexually assaulted by Volkers on a number of occasions. She gave evidence of the abuse occurring in a massage room and on another occasion in a caravan where Volkers lived. Two other women, Kylie Rogers and Simone Boyce, told similar stories.
Despite being removed from the Swimming Queensland Hall of Fame and being refused accreditation by Swimming Australia, Scott Volkers continues to coach swimming in Brazil.
Julie Gilbert writes exclusively for Mamamia about how she found the strength to tell her story and the faith she has that child sexual abusers will be brought to justice…
My story, like most victims of child sexual assault is not a pleasant one. It’s a story that requires you to disclose in detail the humiliating acts done to you as a child, using language that is often uncomfortable and embarrassing.
It’s also one that has to be told to complete strangers in hope they will believe you and treat your words with the sensitivity they deserve.
It’s really hard to do, because every time you describe those acts you relive the memories over and over again. You have to revisit those dark memories you have spent years learning how to suppress, all in the hope that someone will believe you and fight for you.
Many victims may ask why I would want to put myself through that. It is a question I have often asked myself. What have I personally got out of telling my story? For years I took the road of silence thinking that was the easier road to take. Silence, secrecy and shame are the child’s worst enemies and the paedophile’s best friends.
So I tied my secret up in a box and left it on a shelf thinking that I was dealing with it. But all it did was create destructive behaviours that impacted on my life for years. Years spent trying to create the perfect world all so I could feel safe. But I wasn’t safe, I was just avoiding.