My day at the Royal Commission – Part 1

February 22, 2016 at 9:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Weighing my words.

Weighing my words.

I chose to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

A nice lady advised me to attend a certain inner-city hotel on a Monday morning.

Nervous, and not overly trusting of public transport, I arrived 45 minutes early.

I walked around the empty Queen Victoria Market – which is always good for a bit of old architectural detail.

Time dragged, so I picked it up and carried it into the hotel foyer.

The desk staff seemed to know what to expect, as they quickly ascertained I wasn’t a new or returning guest.

On divining my purpose, they directed me to a dimly lit waiting area, populated by small tables and high-backed couches and chairs.

In scanning this space for threats, I was impressed by its suitability for damaged denizens.

For distributed around the room, with seemingly mathematical precision, were islands of human wariness.

Eyes down, yet peripherally alert. Folded into themselves and away from all others. Tensed with the burden of their stories – perhaps about to be told for the first time.

I found my spot in the series and assumed a kindred attitude. A large window showed ‘normal’ people heading to work and going about their lives. I watched and waited long enough to slide into a light reverie.

This was abruptly shattered when a male voice barked ‘MR HASSING?’ from directly behind my chair.

I sprang up startled and was sufficiently discombobulated to garner an immediate apology from the young man whose task it was to usher me upstairs.

I apologised for my reaction and wondered with concern how his angle of ingress had escaped my inventory. Then again, the best spot had been taken before I arrived.

In the lift, the man promised to modulate his approach to future witnesses. I assured him they’d be mighty grateful if he did.

He led me to a suite that had been converted to a waiting room. On a table was a panoply of sweet and savoury treats – none of which elicited the faintest desire.

Also present, a full range of beverages – excluding the alcohol for which I was fast feeling the need.

Expecting to be left alone in this place until summoned, I was disconcerted when the man sat across from me. I realised this was designed to comfort me before my session, but it had quite the opposite effect.

When I found that his previous job had been in advertising, I felt even less assured. But he was a very nice chap, and the time eventually ground through its course.

Then came a discreet knock at the door …

Read Part 2.

Pic by the Commission.


If you found this content useful or entertaining, you may wish to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


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4 Comments »

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  1. Dearest Paul.
    My heart cries for you and those who’ve had to endure such pain – as an abused youngster, at the years of guilt and shame and silence, at the turmoil before sharing your experience, at the stress of the commission hearing…
    But thank you so very much for sharing your story. Your bravery shines.
    With an enormous hug Desolie

    • You are deeply kind, Desolie. And that counts for a very great deal these days. Thank you for your lovely words. Thus empowered, I shall press on apace. Best regards, P.

  2. Listening with (morbid) fascination, Paul. Go well. xo

    • Hi, Ad. Morbid fascination extends online attention spans by up to 23%. It’s jolly good to know you’re up for some long copy. Kind regards always, P.


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