Joyce Napurrula-Schroeder was taken from Phillip Creek, north of Tennant Creek, in 1947 with 15 other children, and placed in the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin. She was not quite 2 years old.
Joyce says she was sexually abused during her time at Retta Dixon, and volunteered her testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year. She remained in Retta Dixon for over fifteen years until she got married in 1963. “A lot us in my age group sort of married the first man we met, and unfortunately most of marriages didn't last, because, you know, I think when you grow up in a mission you’re so young, and when you’re not nurtured, you’re not nursed, you’re not hugged, you’re not given any love, how can you give love if you’ve never known love?” She continues, “Most of us went from the mission into an abusive relationship… a lot of that, I’m sure, had to do with the mission.”
“I think thats what upset us most, the fact that we didn’t know where we came from. We didn’t know where our family was. We didn’t know who we belonged to… definitely stolen generation, and lost, lost generation as well. Most of us were lost for all that time… and even though you meet your family… even though I met mom and everything, you don’t get that closeness with your mother… because you were taken away.”