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Teen overcomes violent family upbringing

HOMELESS NO MORE: A Gladstone teen escaped his violent family and will finish year 12 and start work in the region.
HOMELESS NO MORE: A Gladstone teen escaped his violent family and will finish year 12 and start work in the region. Luka Kauzlaric

HE saved his mum from being stabbed by his sister and was knifed three times in the process.

But his mother didn't take him to the hospital or even say thank you. She turned away and kept on with what she was doing said Tim, who was at the time 16 years old.

"My dad was in the fire brigade so he got duct tape and cotton wool and (stopped the bleeding)," he said.

Tim, who asked his real name not be revealed out of concern for his life, fled his North Queensland home town for Gladstone one year ago to escape violence and psychological abuse he said was delivered by his parents.

"I was driven to suicide a number of times because I was told that no-one loved me and that God didn't love me - that there was no point to my existence," he said.

His father threatened to find him and kill him, he said, because he was gay and this didn't fit with his family's religious beliefs.

"If you're gay, you don't inherit everlasting life," Tim said.

"There's no point in me being alive because I'm not going to live forever anyway… that's his point of view."

His parents didn't allow study in the family home, and when they found out Tim intended to continue past Year 10, they locked him in his room for one month.

Tim was taught not to trust anyone who wasn't a Jehovah's Witness.

"Don't trust them because they'll end up hurting you. They're evil people," he said his parents told him.

But Tim did trust people, and with the help of friends he started a new life in Gladstone.

When Tim arrived in Gladstone, he had nothing, and after a few months he was homeless.

"I came here with two bags, and $65," he said.

But after spending a night on the streets of Gladstone, Roseberry Community Services picked him up and took him to Roseberry House, where he lived for three months until RCS and the Department of Housing and Public Works found him an apartment.

Now 17, Tim is due to graduate from Year 12 in four weeks and plans to take up a career as a train driver.

"Because my parents denied me the right of education, I've made education my utmost goal," he said.

He credits help from Roseberry Community Services' crisis accommodation and counselling services, and his own survival skills, for his success.

Topics:  mental health, violence




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