Engender Equality Face

Deborah thought her abuse was normal - but a late autism diagnosis changed everything

By Megan Oliver, with photography by Maren Preuss

  • Posted on ABC online Monday 9 Jan 2023 at 5:10am, updated Mon 9 Jan 2023 at 11:33am

All I ever learned was that it was my fault. I had some dark fault inside me where I was always getting it wrong. – Deborah Hunter

Deborah Hunter always knew she was different from those around her — she communicated differently and struggled socially, but didn’t know why.

“I took it to be some kind of intrinsic naivety. I never seemed to get it right,” she said.

“Even when I tried to be a ‘good girl’ and behave as appropriate or expected, I was forever getting things wrong.”

The emotional and physical abuse started in Deborah’s family home, but she didn’t realise it was abuse.

Read the ABC news story