Fixed It: It wasn’t “sex” and he’s not asking for a “payout”

The Australian reported on a civil trial where a man is seeking compensation for “horrific” rapes and abuse committed against him by members of the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers have admitted to the abuse. The case is now focussed on the damages the organisation owe him for the trauma inflicted by their members.

The trial is ongoing and only the court can determine the level of compensation owed to the man who has had to live with what was done to him when he was a helpless child. This commentary is not about the outcome of the trial, it is only and specifically about the way the crimes committed against the survivor are described by the media.

I am going to keep repeating this as often as I need to (which appears to be a lot). Sex and rape are not the same thing. The horrific violence inflicted on this little boy by men who were responsible for caring for him was not “sex”. It was rape. It was abuse. It was a betrayal of a trust given to them, and the man who survived it (just) has paid far too high a price for those men’s belief that they were entitled to abuse him without consequence. None of these things are “sex”.

The survivor is not after a “payout”, which implies he’s seeking an advantage. He’s asking for compensation for crimes committed against him and the suffering he has had to endure because of those crimes.

I struggle to understand how anyone could view this as a “sex payout” but apparently someone at The Australian does and this should not be allowed to pass without comment.


FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron


1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Ph: 1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au 

Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Ph: 1800 99 10 99
www.childwise.org.au