Born To Survive:You Can't Break A Broken Heart

Book Award Sub-Category
Award Category
Book Cover Image
Logline or Premise
Born to Survive- You can't break a broken heart

Hello, world.
My name’s Kylie-Anne Evans, and I am a sexual abuse survivor. I know I will lose family members because of my story, but the truth must be revealed.
First 10 Pages

Early Childhood

The ‘Ages’

I was born in Hamilton, New Zealand. Weight, time, length, and head circumference are unknown.

Age 1

I was hospitalized in Hamilton, NZ, for severe dehydration and malnutrition. Apparently, I was a neglected baby. I am unable to confirm if this is true.

Age 2

I flew from New Zealand to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Mum’s passport. It was the 18th of May and I arrived with my older sister, Julie, and my dad. This was my first time on a plan, and I don’t remember it. This was told to me by Mum, Nana, and dad. There are entry records from the National archives which confirm this to be true.

Age 3

The only thing I have in my memory from being this age is a black and white photo of my sister, Julie, and me. Mind you, this is the only photo I can find as a toddler. Sadly, either no one took any pictures, or they had been destroyed or thrown out.

Was I wanted as a child? I am probably being selfish here, but I don’t remember any affection or love that was shown to me. Maybe I was too young to remember, but throughout most of my life, I have never truly felt love.

Age 4

My younger sister, Vicki, was born. I was in Prep. Many call this Kindergarten. I went to the toilets and grabbed the door frame. As I was trying to go in, another girl ran into the cubicle. Shutting the door, the fingers on my left hand were crushed. I tried to scream; no sound came out. All I could do was wait for the girl to finish and open the door. Mum was busy having Vicki at the same time I was at the hospital getting my hand dressed.

Age 5

Mum was watching a Golden Retriever for a friend. It had just returned from the veterinarian after an operation on its ears. Mum said, “You can pet the dog but don’t touch its ears because they are sore.”

I said, “No, Mum. I won’t”.

The next minute, mum hears me scream in pain. She entered the room, and there was blood all over me, the floor, and the dog.

Picking me up, mum said, “You played with the

dog’s ears after I told you not to, didn’t you?”

“Yes, Mummy. Please don’t let me die.”

We went to the hospital. I had twelve stitches, six inside my mouth and six on the outside. We were told by the doctor sewing the stitches that his teeth had clenched my lower lip when the dog bit me. If I had pulled back, I could have lost my bottom lip and part of my chin. I don’t like Golden Retrievers anymore. They scare me.

I’m not sure if this is the correct place to put this memory, but I believe that I was around this age when my mum, dad, and us kids went to Eildon. Eildon is mum’s happy place to have a picnic down by the lake. I was given ham and salad with beetroot. As soon as I swallowed the beetroot, it came straight back up. I blew chunks everywhere.

I don’t know whether something was off or was because of an allergy. I have never had beetroot since that day. On that same day, mum had gone fishing. She had Vicki in a backpack. In the process of casting her line, she hooked Vicki’s head.

It was scary seeing blood trickling down my sister’s face. Mum and dad tried to get the hook out without Vicki being inconvenienced by the whole situation. Looking back, I think we should have all stayed home, as it was a disaster from the start. It was one I won’t soon forget.

Age 6

My younger brother, Simon, was born. We call

Him, Grug. He was the only male sibling that Julie,

Vicki and I had. He had red hair and was chubby. I don’t have much memory of that part of my life, but I remember one particular incident.

One day, Vicki and I were playing. We hid in the wardrobe that was in the spare room. I locked the wardrobe door from the inside by sliding the piece of metal that locks when you turn the key. Little did I know that you couldn’t slide it back out again. Oh crap! We were stuck in the wardrobe.

It wasn’t like we could escape out the back of it as they did in ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.’ We waited until mum came in looking for us. After what seemed like forever, she came in. We told her we were in the wardrobe, and she unlocked the door. When we got out, mum slapped both of us because she had been looking for us. She had even called the police. Vicki and I thought it was funny as Hell, but mum was not so amused.

Julie was usually the one who took on the role of Mum most of the time. Our mother certainly couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take on that job. I didn’t understand what was happening.

I had no idea that mum had severe depression. At my age, I thought she slept and went fishing a lot. Julie, who was only eight, stepped into that role. She would make meals for all of us, make sure we were all bathed and fed, do the washing when we had no clean clothes, and if we were sick, she would stay at home to look after us.

Julie was the one who kept us together when everything else was falling apart. I will always be grateful to her as our lives should have never gotten to

that point. I’m so sorry that Vicki felt she had to grow up so fast and lose her childhood.

Eildon, it seems, was a popular family vacation spot, as we had returned for another visit. This time, I had a salad without beetroot; in case I was allergic to it.

Mum and dad separated, and later got divorced. We were left in mum’s care. I can recall that before dad left, he had shot our dog, P-Fa because it ate mum’s prize-winning rooster. I was relieved since that rooster annoyed the crap out of all of us. All, except mum. She loved that stupid bird.

I was glad P-Fa killed it however, I was shattered when dad killed our puppy. From out of nowhere, dad pulled out a rifle. I didn’t even know we owned one. He tied P-Fa to a tree, took aim, and fired one bullet between our beloved dog’s eyes.

I hated dad for a long time after that. He was a murderer! How could he just shoot an animal, and in front of his kid, none the less! That’s just not right. I guess that’s what went on in the ‘80’s on a farm.

We were taken from our mother by the police and child protection services. I remember Julie, who was nine at the time, kicked a policewoman in the shins and ran away.

I was holding on to mum saying, “Please, mum. Don’t let them take me. I promise I’ll be good. Don’t let them take us.”

My words seemed to fall on deaf ears. Simon was crying, as he didn’t want to go either. I can’t remember where Vicki was. She may have already been in the back of the police car. It was alleged that we were being neglected and abused. I believe that it

was because mum and dad had split up; and mum was a lesbian. In the 1980’s, that was frowned upon.

Driving away from mum was horrible. We were crying, hoping that they would take us back, but they didn’t. We went to a family group home and were made wards of the state. That meant that we were under the guidance of the child protection.

Julie was nine, turning ten, and was placed in a separate part of the group home for older girls. Vicki and I were together. Our brother, Simon, was in the babies/infant section, and we only got to see him on family outings or visitation days. I couldn’t understand why mum just couldn’t come to get us and take us home.

It was in Allambie that I met Sarah. Our schooling was almost non-existent. Sarah helped me learn how to read and write properly. I could already but I wasn’t very good at it. My writing was messy; almost unreadable. My reading was a series of stutters and mispronounced words.

Sarah was also my mentor and friend. I would often go on outings and stay over on weekends with her and her husband.

My favorite place to go was into the city of Melbourne; to the museums and art galleries. Almost any place was great if it meant we were out of the home for a few hours. I remember going to Ricketts Point and having fish and chips on the pier. I loved the beach. There, I felt alive and free.

At the home, we had a few visitors, but they were few and far between. Mum came to see us a few times, and it was hard seeing her leave because we couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go home with her. It took us a few hours to calm down after mum or dad left.

Our auntie and uncle came to visit once. They were on mum’s side of the family. I recall when she was pregnant at the time. She tripped over a huge tree root that was embedded in the ground. Her belly was so big, I thought she was going to pop when she fell. Hey, I was only seven years old at the time, and I didn’t know any better.

Dad had been trying to get Vicki, Simon, and me back into his care through the family law courts. He tried everything he could to get his kids back. Mum didn’t seem to care. She would attend mediation at a family meeting with VCAS and dad. She would promise to change; to get help for her depression and make more of an effort to see us kids but she never followed through. When we did get to see mum, it was great because we missed her a lot.

I was at a school in Allambie, and then went to a ‘real’ school in Burwood. Not long after, I was transferred to our new foster home. Even though we left Allambie, I still managed to keep in touch with Sarah and Bill. It did help that from 1982, when they bought their house, they never once changed their phone number.

Age 8

Vicki, Simon, and I moved from Alambie to Hampton. Our foster parents were Patrick and Dos. We called her Dossie. She was my substitute mum. She said once that I was her problem child because I spoke to everyone in a childish voice. She called it my ‘cutesy voice’ and she was determined to somehow stop me from talking like that. Dossie thought relaxation might help. I went to Primary School to be enrolled in year four. I had gotten held back a year, otherwise, I would have been in year five.

I was laying on the floor in the entertainment room listening to Air Supply on cassette. She had said to me when the tape finishes side one, to come get her so she could put it on side two for me.

I thought I knew better, so I didn’t tell her. In the middle of taking the tape out to turn it around, the black tape got stuck on the pin. I pulled, and in doing so, I unraveled the tap, snapping it in two places. Yikes! I had destroyed Dossie’s favorite tape. I promised her I would replace it one day.

Dossie took us to see her mother in the county one weekend. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I threw up in the back seat of her car. I remember her pulling over, putting her arms on the steering wheel with her head on her arms, and starting to cry. I felt so bad for Dos.

Her marriage had fallen apart, and here I was, making life more difficult for her. She took a deep breath, got out of the car, and cleaned me up. We drove on to her mum’s house.

Mum had visitation rights. She would arrange to pick us up every other weekend but as the time came and went, we knew she wouldn’t be turning up to get us. Dossie had planned for the weekend and was counting on mum to take us.

Often, Dossie would ring dad and he would end up coming to pick us up for the weekend because mum would never show up. Eventually, we stopped waiting for her.

Dad once took us to Luna Park in St. Kilda. This might have been when I became scared of clowns. I mean, walking willingly into a giant clown’s mouth for an eight-year old who had never seen anything like it before in her life, was plenty bloody frightening.

Honestly, it’s like a one-year old meeting Santa for the first time. That is etched into your memory forever. I can’t even look at a clown without freaking out and having heart palpitations now. Clowns are what my worst nightmares are made of.

One time we actually saw mum, we went with her to Culcairn for a week during the school holiday. It was a greenish colored house on acreage with a dam right in the middle of the front yard. We played and swam in the water and caught yabbies’.

While we were in Culcairn, I was playing with an old trunk. It had two latches in the front, and they were made of some type of metal; maybe tin or something like it. It held mum’s dress-up clothes in it.

I flicked the latch and pushed the lid up. It must have been loose because as I started reaching into it, the lid came crashing down on my head, causing it to bleed profusely. I was terrified that I was going to die.

I said to mum, “Please don’t let me bleed to death.” She promised me that I wouldn’t and drove me to the hospital.

Nana came to visit us while we still lived with Dossie. Nana took me to the horse races once and gave me fifty cents to bet on a horse. I picked ‘Send Me an Angel’. It came in first. When I got back to Dossie’s, I told her my horse came in first, and I bought a goldfish with my winnings.

‘No Name’ lived in its bowl on top of the fridge in the kitchen. One day while feeding it, I noticed the bowl was dirty. I decided that after I consulted with Dossie on how to clean said bowl, that I would wash it out.

She said, “Fill it up with warm water and detergent.”

Satisfied that it was clean, I rinsed it out, dried it off, and filled it with water again. I then returned the fish to the bowl and fed it. I woke up the next morning and my fish was floating sideways in its bowl.

Crying, I asked Dossie what I did wrong. She asked me to show her what I used to clean it with, so I showed her the bottle. It was a bottle of petrol I had found somewhere, and I used it in the bowl, thinking to clean it. I had killed my fish. I poisoned it.

Dos did the only thing she could do and waiting until I had left the kitchen. She threw my fishy in the bin. I was devastated as I didn’t mean to kill it. See, I learned then that you can die from ingesting petrol!

Age 9

The year Dos left us, Annette and Colin became our new foster parents. I don’t remember much about them. Obviously, they didn’t make much of an impression on me. This was also the year I was admitted into the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, for a twisted bowel. I had to have an operation to remove the obstruction.

While there, I met an artist named Jeff Hook. He used to do the cartoons in one of the newspapers. He signed a book for me, but I somehow lost it some-where. I thought it might have been given to Nana for safekeeping, but Nana didn’t have it when I asked for it back.

Our uncles and cousins came to Melbourne to meet us. Mum and dad were there, too. I desperately wanted mum and dad back together again so we could all go home and live happily ever after. Sadly, it was more like ‘devasted ever after’. At least it was, for me.

We had a group family photo taken. I was wearing a dark blue skivvy, which I hated. It made me feel like I was being choked. With it, I wore a tartan skirt. It was apparently all the rage back then. Julie had a mustard-colored vest on, and God, it was hideously revolting. That was the fashion where I lived in the mid-eighties.

I now wonder if we had this family reunion for VCAS to test us to see if we were compatible enough to live within the Family.

Age 10

This was the year that I got braces. Also, it was the year that my life turned from bad to worse. I hated those braces. They were causing ulcers in my mouth, blisters on my lips, and cuts inside my cheeks.

It was the year that we found out we wouldn’t be with Annette and Colin the following year. I was crushed. I wondered why we had to keep moving. I would get used to having somewhere to live, and then we would have to leave.