I was dreading it. Absolutely dreading it. I focused on what I would wear. What do you wear when you report historic abuse? Can’t be low cut. Don’t want him to see too much of me. What will the jury think? Can I have my hood up or wear a wig? (I couldn’t). I focused on this I think as a pure distraction of what was coming.
My SOIT officer had called me a few days after the report. We arranged a date and time for me to come in and make a statement.
On the day, I met my advocate, and we went for a cup of coffee and talked through how I was feeling. We walked into the police station together. I wasn’t alone. We walked along the long corridor to the room where I would give my statement. She couldn’t sit in with me. But she was just outside. Once I had made the initial statement, I could not talk to her about what happened, only how I was feeling. This continued until the trial was over. It is all about preserving the “evidence”
never mind you are falling apart. You cannot discuss your evidence with anyone.
Reporting the abuse wasn’t pleasant. It was never going to be. But my SOIT officer made it the best it possible could be. I could stop at any time. I could have breaks. As it was I just wanted to get it over and done with. We started off with the easy questions, name, address, and then moved on towards the abuse. At the end, I had to complete forms and sign them. To give permission to access my medical notes, to give contact details of any witnesses.
I know in these sorts of cases very often the only people that know what happened are the victim and the perpetrator. By witnesses I mean people I had told. You see in these sorts of cases there can be evidence. The friend I told at the time, the friend I told when I was a bit older, my sister’s, my mum, my first boyfriend, my teacher, my doctor, my counsellor. It is all evidence. It all adds up. It wasn’t just my word against his.
Walking out of the police station I felt amazing. I had finally done it. And they believed me. That was the beginning of 4 years of a rollercoaster of emotions. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. But even at my lowest, even at the hardest points, I have never regretted starting this journey.