During an episode of ABC’s You Can’t Ask That program, aired on Wednesday, sexual abuse victim Stuart Kidd spoke candidly about his harrowing experiences.
What viewers of the show may not have realised was that Dr Kidd, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, took his own life in May.
The episode was filmed in November 2017 and viewed by Dr Kidd and his wife Janet in February, according to a statement from the ABC.
The pair were “gobsmacked” and “impressed” by the episode and the powerful stories told by survivors of sexual abuse, according to an email Dr Kidd sent to producers.
Paying tribute to her husband of more than 37 years, Janet Kidd, spoke to The New Daily about Stuart’s advocacy and support for those going through similar struggles to himself.
“One of the things that I’m about and that Stuart was about was openness and bringing things out into the light,” she said.
“Everyone must respond to the suicide epidemic, everyone must respond to the fact that so many people have complex early childhood trauma.
“I believe everyone has a responsibility to educate themselves further and to do something.
“Even just bringing that down to the basic level of being a good mate. Stuart just always tried to sit along side an individual and be a good mate.”
Janet also acknowledged the great mental pain Stuart endured for much of his life, and the incredible things he was able to achieve in spite of his struggle.
“In one sense we would never know who he would have been without the abuse, but we did get glimpses,” she says.
“For a lot of the time he was just this wonderful, outgoing, lovely person.
“But then he would struggle so much to hold down all the traumatised, terrified parts of himself.”
Stuart’s work was one of things that helped his mental wellbeing during many difficult years, punctuated by suicide attempts. He retired from his role in April, 2016.
Janet spoke of a “wonderful season” in their life when Stuart demonstrated his immense capacity for generosity.
“He became just so loving and a wonderful husband, dad and grandfather over that season,” she said.
“He put a lot of time into our three biological children and then there’s lots of others that we adopted. Some of them called him papa.
“He mentored fellow abuse survivors. He just gave everything he could and completely wore out in the end.
Michael Kidd, 32, Stuart’s son also paid tribute to his father, who he described as his “hero”.
“I’d like to focus not on the tragedy that took his life but he miracle that he was able to survive as long as he did and not just survive but he had an amazing life and was an incredible, husband, dad, friend, uncle and brother,” he said.
“He had a more impressive life than a lot of people that didn’t have the setback that he did.
“He’s my hero.”
In a statement, You Can’t Ask That series producer/director Aaron Smith said: “Stuart’s contribution to You Can’t Ask That will have a lasting and profound impact on the audience, helping to reduce stigma and increase awareness and understanding for survivors of sexual assault. We share our heartfelt condolences with Stuart’s family and friends.”
The Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN) has set up a fund in Dr Kidd’s memory to support family members of male survivors of sexual assault.
You can donate to the charity at its website, here.
You can watch the episode of You Can’t Ask That featuring Dr Kidd here.
If you or anyone you know is experience difficulties, help is available. Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.