The scars of abuse by a Catholic priest run deep for members of one family on National Survivors Day.
Colin and Doreen Cameron, who previously had a farm near Dunkeld, were devout members of the Catholic parish in Penshurst.
Colin was brought up Catholic and his wife converted.
The parish priest had always been welcomed into their home as a friend.
When the new priest, Paul David Ryan, arrived in the area, the couple was thrilled to learn he shared similar interests - books and movies - with their son Deon.
The two said they would never have even considered that this was just the paedophile's way of grooming his next victim.
Ryan, who was ordained in Ballarat, was also more than willing to help Colin out on the farm.
The priest would later be linked to dozens of abuse cases across western Victoria, including Ballarat.
"I wasn't interested in sport at school," Deon said. "I had friends but I wasn't a part of any big social group, which was the sort of stuff that was appealing to him.
"It was easy to single me out."
Deon, 49, said his family's faith also played a part.
"Having a family that was close to the church was also an important part of his 'operation' - for want of a better word," Deon said.
He said Ryan invited him to the presbytery on numerous occasions, but he declined.
"There was an occasion when he organised for me to go there and it was supposed to be a movie night - there were supposed to be others - but there weren't."
That night Deon was sexually abused for the first time by Ryan, who had offended before at other parishes.
The initial offence occurred the day before his 16th birthday.
Deon said he felt confused and was terrified of the priest, who always hid behind religion as a way to swear his victim to secrecy.
The abuse continued into his early 20s.
During that time Ryan continued to groom Deon.
"If he was away, he would send me gifts," he said.
Deon's parents said they felt betrayed by the Catholic church.
"Ryan had interests that Deon had and we thought, 'that's great'," Colin said.
He said he and his wife had "no peace" because of the guilt they feel and the betrayal they experienced by the Catholic church.
"You worry about your grandchildren - where they are and who they're with - we can't relax," Colin said.
Doreen said it was a slap in the face to find out Ryan had offended before.
"He was sent to the US to counselling while he was at our parish - they knew what he was doing," she said. "They should be all bloody ashamed of themselves."
The two no longer call themselves Catholic.
"We feel very close to God - that hasn't faltered," she said. "But you don't have to go to an establishment to get next to God."
Doreen said there had been one instance when Deon was young when she had questioned her son about the priest.
She witnessed Ryan introducing Deon as his nephew to a number of parishioners.
"I heard him and I said, 'hey, am I your sister or is Colin your brother?'"
Doreen said she glared at the priest, who just brushed it off.
"It didn't sit right with me," she said.
On the way home she asked her son whether Ryan had ever done anything inappropriate to him.
Deon replied he hadn't and Doreen said she felt guilty for even doubting the priest.
"I felt guilty for having that thought because Father Ryan had been so good to all of us," she said.
There was another occasion years later when the couple was living in Warrnambool.
They invited Ryan to dinner.
He told them he had left the priesthood.
Doreen recalled Ryan had attempted to hug Deon and he had recoiled.
She thought it was odd.
Deon kept the abuse a secret until the age of 29.
But it was eating away at him and affected his relationships with other people.
"I was at Mum and Dad's having dinner and there was something on TV about a swimming coach who had been abusing young people he was coaching," Deon said. "I remember I was eating spaghetti bolognese at the time and Mum took the opportunity to ask me."
It was like an out of body experience for Doreen, who suddenly had to ask her son if Ryan had abused him.
"I just said to Deon - 'that happened to you with Father Ryan, didn't it?' I said it but it didn't feel like my voice - it just flooded out."
Deon began seeing a counsellor and the family contacted the church to report the abuse.
His first experience reporting the abuse to a police officer wasn't a good one.
To begin with, the process was extremely slow as the officer banged away at a keyboard.
"He pulled down some folders - he was looking at different laws and said, 'according to this there is probably not much we can do because of your age'," Deon recalled. "He said, 'just sign here and we will see what we can do'."
Deon left feeling as if he had taken steps backward, not forward.
Luckily, his case was referred to Colin Ryan, who was a detective in Warrnambool at the time.
"I felt like we made some ground and he was listening," Deon said. "And even though his keyboard skills weren't great - they were way better than the other officer - and he was actually listening."
Deon said the detective called for other victims of Ryan to come forward.
There were two who came forward and one of these males went on to pursue charges against Ryan with Deon.
It came as a shock to Deon that he was not the only victim.
Colin said he wanted a personal apology for his son from the Catholic Church.
He said he had been disgusted by their response to the offences.
"We never got an apology - nothing - just denials, lies and cover-ups."
Ryan was sentenced to just 11 months for the charges brought against him by Deon and the other initial victim.
He pleaded guilty but his defence team insisted he had never offended before.
The family found out that was another lie that day.
"There was a woman in court whose son had been abused by him," Deon said.
Sadly, that victim died by suicide.
Deon shared his story ahead of National Survivors' Day.
He said he didn't know where he would be today if he had not spoken out and got support.
"I can't not do these things (speak out) - they're really important," he said. "If it helps someone else it would be remiss of me not to do this."
The charges he and the other initial victim laid against Ryan opened the floodgates for a number of Ryan's victims.
Tuesday, November 14 is National Survivors Day.
To mark the day, Australians are urged to stand in solidarity with those impacted by sexual assault and institutional abuse.
In Good Faith Foundation chief executive officer Clare Leaney said National Survivors' Day had already become an important fixture on the country's calendar.
"It was established in order to acknowledge the profound harm caused to those affected by sexual assault and institutional abuse, as well as their tremendous resilience," Ms Leaney said.
"It's our aim to give survivors, supporters and whistle-blowers a similar function as other national days of recognition."
Affected by this story? There is help available.
You can phone the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, in Sebastopol, on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292.
Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
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