I FOUND Greg Fitzpatrick's comments regarding Hamilton Marist Brothers during the 1960s and 1970s (Letters 14/3) insulting.
Judge Roy Ellis's comments are more than relevant given the horror that existed within the school during the timeframe quoted.
A simple Google search, Mr Fitzpatrick, will confirm the horrific effect of sexual abuse. As one of two victims who initiated charges against Romuald (Francis Cable) in 1960, I am more than qualified to comment after being abused in class on a regular basis.
Romuald continued his devious acts even following my father's sudden death. Thankfully, he is currently spending a lengthy period in jail.
I do get comfort Greg, that you and others enjoyed your time at the school, however my experience and that of many other students, means we see our secondary education years as nothing other than having a life-changing negative impact.
Terry Skippen, Eleebana
LESS PLEASANT MEMORIES
GREG Fitzpatrick wrote (Letters 14/3) in regard to his time at Hamilton Marist. While we had no Brother Romuald, we had a few perverts during the 1950s.
To top it off, we were caned relentlessly. A few were expert in throwing blackboard erasers. A good whack to the back of your head was another one. Another Brother made us bend down facing the blackboard and belted us on the bum with a blackboard set square; two for the price of one, your bum and your head.
All up, including myself, I know of five former Hamilton Marist students who were sexually assaulted during the 1950s. We sent letters through a solicitor to the government committee investigating child sex crimes. We were invited to Sydney to further discuss the content of our letters. Greg, I'm glad your time at Hamilton Marist was great.
Wal Remington, Mount Hutton
REGARDING the election promise by both major parties to expand the John Hunter, I believe this will create chaos with parking for patients and staff given a claimed increase of 7500 staff to run the new hospital.
This will also create an increase in more outpatients using clinics at the hospital. Unless you live in the area serviced by Newcastle buses, there is no way to access the hospital except by car.
I live 35km from the hospital and public transport for me would involve at least three different means to get there: car, bus or $75 taxi each way.
Sometimes community transport is available, but it's very difficult to arrange to meet appointment times. This will also apply to Maitland Hospital.
There is no hospital close if Williamtown airport has a major problem, and the surrounding industrial areas are often traffic gridlocked.
There needs to be planning for the north side of Newcastle harbour's expected major housing and industrial growth.
Ray Dean, East Seaham
COMPASSION AFTER THE FIGHT
THE return of jihad brides and their children l believe need a bit of compassion, not political aggression.
At the end of all major wars, compassion was given to the defeated in humanitarian aid and resettlement. America stopped German citizens from starving and helped rebuild their cities. Japan, a country on its knees, was also saved the very same way.
Then there were the thousands of war brides from countries who were the enemy that were given a fresh start in a new country. Why is a terrorist war any different? Maybe a bit of compassion will do more than continuing aggression against women and children, the innocent product of war.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
SEE THE SHORTCOMINGS
AUSTRALIANS are a faithful bunch, whether they realise it or not. This is evident when you consider the number of groups we are part of, in small or large ways.
We love our sporting teams like the Knights and the Jets. We attend games regularly, dress up in team colours and scream and shout enthusiastically when they score. There is no team like our team, and we think they are winners even when they lose.
Generations of people often belong to the one religious organisation too, like the Seventh-Day Adventists, Catholics or Muslims. For many, attending a different religious service would be akin to blasphemy.
There is no doubt people feel happy and secure when they are with like-minded people and their loyalty is expressed by dedication and hard work. Groups stop us from feeling isolated and lonely, and we love it when they are successful. It makes us feel we are on the right side. Unfortunately we often view our team or religion through rose-coloured glasses. We don't see their shortcomings, or if we do we cannot accept or admit them. That is why so many children were ignored and disbelieved when they finally told a parent or someone in authority they had been sexually abused.
We must not be one-eyed or bigoted in our devotion but accept that organisations are full of good and bad people, some bad enough to commit various crimes including the sexual abuse of children. If we leave, nothing bad will happen.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
CONSENT FOLLOWS RESPECT
UNDERSTANDING consent and respect is not that hard. First Brad Hill describes the behaviour of NRL players that leads to criminal charges being laid as an "enviable romp" (Short Takes 9/3). Now he seems to claim that any bedroom behaviour that hasn't yet been convicted in court is quite acceptable (Short Takes 15/3).
I'll give you a little tip: I think if an intimate activity ends up with a visit to the police station (and the hospital in the case of one player's unfortunate alleged sexual partner), then it is quite unlikely that the modern concept of seeking enthusiastic consent has been employed.
Mr Hill then goes on to complain about not being able to leer and ogle women however he likes without anyone pointing out the disrespect of doing so. Luckily, we are moving to a better world where I see that the overwhelming majority of men do treat women with respect, in and out of the bedroom. Mr Hill's arguments against such progression do not reflect well.