TW: Mention of child sexual abuse.
The police came to my door today. They told me they had to close the case against the man who sexually abused me as a child due to lack of evidence.
Everything hits me at once.
I’m 9 years old.
I’m at the Family Courthouse in Sydney. The lady tells me she is a child psychologist. I draw some pictures while she tells me a lot of things I already know, like how my mum wants to move us to Melbourne and how my Dad wants us to stay in Sydney. She asks me some questions.
I’m scared. I don’t want mum to be sad. I don’t want anyone to be angry at me.
I tell her I haven’t changed my mind. I tell her I want to move to Melbourne. I tell her things are good at home.
I lie to her.
I’m 12 years old.
I tell my mum about the man who touches me, how it makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t like it. Mum tells me this is very serious and I have to be honest with her. I promise her I am telling the truth. She tells me that an allegation like this can ruin a person’s life. She says he will go to jail. She looks sad.
I’m scared. I don’t want mum to be sad. I don’t want anyone to be angry with me.
I tell mum that I read about inappropriate touching in Dolly magazine and maybe I’m just confused about good and bad touching. Maybe he was just trying to show me love.
Mum confiscates my magazines and makes me hug the man and apologise.
I bury it inside.
I’m 18 years old.
Mum is upset. A young girl confided in her about being inappropriately touched by a man.
It’s the same man. My hands get clammy, my heart races, my breathing quickens. She doesn’t remember, but I do. I can never forget.
Mum talks about her next steps, what she will say to the girl. I don’t trust myself to speak. I’m scared. I don’t want mum to be sad. I don’t want anyone to be angry with me.
I think about the girl. She was three years old when she met the man.
I feel myself go numb and Mum’s voice fades out. I imagine my skin is porcelain, my expression blank.
I hide behind a mask.
I’m 22 years old.
I’m struggling with university and seeing a therapist. I tell her the truth. I uncover the feelings I buried. I take off my mask.
My therapist tells me it’s not my fault. I don’t believe her.
She reports it to the police. She has to, it’s the law. The police want to speak with me. I’m scared. I don’t want mum to be sad. I don’t want anyone to be angry with me.
I’m not ready.
I’m 23 years old.
A woman and I are having lunch in a food court. I’ve known this woman a long time. I always tried to look out for her, to protect her. She does the same for me. I feel safe with her, so I tell her.
I tell the woman about the man who touched me. I tell her that this man touched another girl too. I lament my silence. I should have said something when I was 18. I should have said something when I was 12.
The woman puts down her plastic fork. The sound of shoppers around us fades as she speaks.
When this woman was a girl, the man touched her too.
There are three of us.
The woman and I decide we will talk to the girl, and then the three of us will make a plan together.
But I can’t keep it in anymore. I tell Mum about the man again. I make sure she knows it’s the truth this time. I tell her about the girl and the woman. I tell her there are three of us.
The truth is written in the sky. The mask has shattered into a million pieces. I can’t undo what I have done.
I ruined the plan. The girl and the woman weren’t ready.
I’m scared. Mum is sad. Everyone is angry with me.
I’m 30 years old.
I have a wife. My wife and I have two dogs, a small niece and a tiny nephew.
Our niece is three years old. She is sweet and wild and innocent. I vow to protect her until my end.
I think of the girl. She was three years old when she met the man. She was sweet and wild and innocent.
I think of the woman. I vowed to protect her until my end.
I think of myself at twelve years old. I didn’t want mum to be sad. I didn’t want anyone to be angry with me.
I dig up all my secrets and give them to the police. They see the dirt on my hands and know this has been buried a long time.
I’m 31 years old.
Today the police came to my door. They told me they have to drop the case against the man who sexually abused me and the woman and the girl when we were children.
The only evidence is our stories. They need three but they only have one. The woman and the girl lied. They buried their feelings inside. They hid behind masks.
I still love them. They aren’t ready yet. Maybe they won’t ever be ready. But whatever happens now, I’m proud of myself.
Because Mum is sad and everyone is angry with me.
But I’m no longer afraid.
Originally posted by me on Medium.