This article is based on extracts from the Speaking Secrets podcast, a co-production by NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB. For the full episode with a man who says he was sexually abused by Marist Brothers, as well as a further interview with MOSAIC chief executive Richard Jeffrey, listen to the podcast below. You can subscribe to Speaking Secrets on iHeartRadio and iTunes.

A man who says he was sexually violated as a child attending a Catholic school has spoken publicly for the first time about the alleged abuse.

The man, who the Herald has chosen not to name for legal reasons, claims he was raped and molested by Marist Brothers when he was a boy in the 1980s.

"Can you imagine a 10, 11-year-old boy walking home alone after school after having been sexually abused? I remember feeling as if I was not in my own body," he said.


"But it wasn't just the physical sexual abuse, it was the betrayal, because the ones - my teachers - who my parents sent me to be educated, to be looked after, to be cared for, the ones who were supposed to protect me, they were the ones who were abusing me."

The boys at his school referred to the abuse as "bumming" so he had heard the term before it happened to him.

"We all knew on some level. It wasn't alleged back then, we weren't going around alleging anything. We were simply talking about what was happening to us."

He remembers hearing about one of his classmates being told by his mother to write "private property keep out" on his underwear.

He said his brother spoke about the "bumming" one time in a casual conversation in front of their mother and she told the boys not to tell fibs.

He said they were told they were spreading scandal by talking about it.

He first spoke out meaningfully about the abuse when he returned to New Zealand a couple of years ago and called a sexual abuse helpline.

Journalist Georgina Campbell explains why she made 'Speaking Secrets' and why it matters.

Now, he felt he had an obligation to speak publicly about it.


"I'm doing so publicly now because I believe that if survivors don't speak out about sexual assault, in my case child sexual abuse, who will?

"The shame and the secrecy that I carried for so many years is now being brought into the spotlight ... it dissipates the harm that was done, it helps me heal again, but it does make me vulnerable and scared."

Police have investigated the allegations and have not prosecuted anyone to date. Two of the four accused are dead.

The Catholic Church's National Office for Professional Standards in New Zealand said it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on individual complaints, but national director Virginia Noonan said abuse was tragic and indefensible.

"The church is committed to taking these complaints seriously and offers a process to make sure each person is welcomed and listened to.

"This includes a thorough investigation to ensure a fair, considerate, and appropriate outcome."

The man said he did not want people to feel sorry for him or pity him.

"I want people to say isn't he remarkable; despite the fact he was abused he still has enough courage to get on with his life and to not be a victim but to be a survivor of abuse. That takes strength."

Speaking Secrets artwork for a podcast and online feature on NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB June 2018
Speaking Secrets artwork for a podcast and online feature on NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB June 2018