A woman who was sexually abused when she was just 12 years old has broken her silence.
Lyndal was abused by housemaster Kevin Guy for eight months while boarding at the prestigious Toowoomba Prep, an Anglican Church private school.
Bravely speaking to 60 Minutes, Lyndal said:
“My will for life was stolen from me, at times I didn't care about the world. Things like my first kiss were stolen from me. Having a first boyfriend. All those sorts of things, was all... taken. And without permission.”
During the time she was abused, she’d beg her parents not to take her back to school after holidays but she didn’t tell anyone about the abuse. Lyndal said the predator could “make her life hell” at school and repeatedly told her: “Don't tell, no one's going to believe you”.
The abuse stopped when another victim came forward and told police they suspected Lyndal was being abused too.
However, even after the abuse stopped, Lyndal’s nightmare was only just beginning.
Kevin Guy was arrested but on the first day of his trial, committed suicide, leaving a note with the names of 20 girls he’s abused, claiming he loved them.
But the school sent out a letter mourning the loss of the predator instead of taking any sort of responsibility for his horrific crimes.
This led Lyndal down a dark path. The total lack of acceptance from the school is something that affected her deeply. She needed acknowledgment of his crimes and what happened to her on an official level.
Sadly, her cries fell on deaf ears for a whopping 11 years before she finally contacted local lawyer Stephen Roche.
In 2001, with the help of Roche, Lyndal undertook a civil case against Toowoomba Preparatory School and the Anglican Archdiocese. It's considered a landmark case in the state, one of the catalysts for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The jury returned a verdict in favour of Lyndal and she was granted more than $800,000 in compensation.
Australia's Governor General Peter Hollingworth resigned from his position in 2003. Lyndal said she felt utterly let down by him – like he’d wanted to sweep the abuse under the rug.
Her lawyer Stephen Roche wrote a book, ‘Don’t Tell’ about their experience which has recently been made into a film. It attracted an impressive Aussie cast, including Rachel Griffiths as a psychologist who counsels Lyndal (played by newcomer Sara West), along with Susie Porter and Martin Sacks as Lyndal's parents. Aden Young plays Stephen Roche, with Jack Thompson appearing as Lyndal's barrister, while Jacqueline McKenzie takes on the role of the barrister for the school and church.
It's already being hailed as Australia's answer to Spotlight.