A former Christ’s College student sexually assaulted and abused by other students in the 1970s says it was “systematic deliberate abuse” designed to shame him.

Jim Goodwin attended the Christchurch school as a boarder from 1970 to 1974 and told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care in Auckland on Monday about the assault by other students that left him fearing for his life.

Published in Stuff

He said it happened as part of a ritual at the school known as hauling. Senior students would punish more junior pupils if they felt they had been disrespected.

Goodwin said he accidentally bumped into a senior student entering the lunch hall when he was in fifth form (year 11). He was told he was going to be “hauled” and taken to the student study.

The senior students forced him to drink several litres of warm, salty water, which made him vomit and feel disorientated.

“It got pretty blurry towards the end as I got sicker,’’ he told the inquiry.

“I was vomiting. I was crying. I remember my nose running. They kept shoving me and saying don’t spit it out, swallow it.

“I was quite sure they would kill me if I didn’t, so I kept on drinking.”

They forced Goodwin out the window of the study onto a flat roof. They ordered him to pull down his pants and then one of the students violated him with a broom handle.

Another student told the housemaster that Goodwin had been hauled. He was called in to speak to the housemaster, but told him nothing. The housemaster told pupils that if they touched Goodwin again they would be expelled.

Goodwin said he was verbally abused after that, but no-one touched him.

He said he bled occasionally for several weeks after the assault, but was too afraid to tell anyone.

He said the assault gave him flashbacks and nightmares for years. He still felt uncomfortable at times and would experience flashbacks if he was in a busy pub and someone unexpectedly touched his back.

He also recounted a hauling ritual where students would be forced to do press-ups above sharp compass points. He said a school housemaster saw it and said they should “carry on”.

Christ’s College chair Hugh Lindo said they had apologised to Goodwin about the abuse.

“We were appalled to learn of Jim’s experience and have now met with him to personally apologise and understand how we can best support him,’’ he said.

“We are standing beside him and I have been at [Monday’s] hearing to reaffirm our support to him. We fully endorse the work and purpose of the inquiry.”

The college encouraged anyone who may have suffered abuse to contact the royal commission or the college.

Executive principal Garth Wynne said the college had changed since the 1970s.

“Christ’s College, like many schools and organisations, has undergone immense change over the years. We have clear protocols and policies in place for dealing with complaints, including a policy for dealing with any matters of historic abuse.”

By Charlie Gates
Published in Stuff
7 Dec 2020