This story discusses graphic details of a violent nature.

Two sexual abuse survivors from Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch have spoken publicly about the horrors they endured.

Published in Radio New Zealand

Ken Clearwater and Terry King have been part of a CTV series called Challenge the Silence.

Mr King was sexually assaulted in the showers by a group of men at the camp in 1975.

He was left physically and emotionally shaken, however, he said nothing because he knew homosexual activity was illegal and he would likely be arrested.

“I’m just standing in the shadows naked – blood pouring down my legs – and I knew straight away what the hell had happened.

“I was so brutalised inside and then I had to live with that shame.”

Mr Clearwater was also assaulted during a medical examination and by a group of men at the camp in the 1970s.

“Knowing that there were several other men there and thinking that that happened to you – to know that the next day that you’re on parade with those men that have done that to you.

“But no, I’ve got to the stage now where I’ve just accepted that happened and there’s nothing much more I can do about it – and I have to move forward.”

Mr King hoped by sharing his story others who endured a similar trauma would come forward.

He said he did not hate the military, however he wanted an attitude change.

“Since the story has gone to press, I’ve had seven phone calls from ex-soldiers all saying, ‘We should have spoken up.’ And I said, ‘Well, at least hope we can do something for our younger generation because we have just got to learn by our mistakes.’ ”

Two sexual abuse survivors from Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch have spoken publicly about the horrors they endured.

Defence Minister Ron Mark said the military was considering a variety of options in respect to historical cases of sexual abuse.

“The NZDF [New Zealand Defence Force] have come a long way when it comes to dealing with these types of issues.

“I’m comfortable with their progress, however they know that I am keeping a close eye on things.”

He encouraged more men to come forward.

“The defence force [that] Ken and I were part of in the 1970s is a world away from the Defence Force of today.

“I know the leadership team at NZDF take incidents of poor and unacceptable behaviour very seriously and will act appropriately.”

Where to get help:

NZ Police

Victim Support 0800 842 846

Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape Prevention Education

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 – 0

Safe to talk: a 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors, support people and those with harmful sexual behaviour

By Jonathan Mitchell
Published in Radio New Zealand
19 April 2019