My twin sister was abused by a friend of my dad. Someone my family had known for years. Who visited us regularly. This is something I have known for years. He would come and play in our bedroom with us and then he would send me downstairs to refill his wine glass leaving them alone. He made me complicit in what he did. It was an unspoken secret we couldn’t talk about. Even after our parents found out years later this wasn’t something we ever discussed. It was too painful, too horrible to look at.
This was something I parcelled up and put away so I didn’t have to look at. It happened over there, if happened to her. I carried the guilt of what happened to her I was the older one, the bigger one, I was always told to look after her. I failed to do that.
Relationships were tricky, I subconsciously picked people who were unavailable, keeping them at arms length – my first love was gay, my second was already in a relationship, my third was emotionally unavailable, my forth lived hundreds of miles away. I told very few people about it over the years other than the man who later became my husband.
In my 30s I started seeing a counsellor. My dad had died several years before, I was about to become a mother, I was working round the corner from where HE used to live. I saw his ghost everywhere. I was looking over my shoulder every day, scared I’d bump into him. I was persuaded to go by my older sister. I wasn’t a great talker about feelings, big talker about nonsense, but feelings? No, it was too hard.
Every Monday I’d go after work and on the bus on the way there I would work out what I was going to talk about. One week I had nothing on my mind. I sat down and started talking and that’s when all the dots joined up and I remembered something I had witnessed. A memory that had always been there. There was no blinding light, no great revelation, I just turned my head and looked at the thing that had always been in my peripheral vision, and for the first time I understood it for what it was. There were other things I remembered but had minimised. Dismissed them as nothing but with grown up understanding I knew they were wrong. But still I didn’t do anything with that information it just didn’t feel like what I knew was enough.
My sister didn’t want to talk about it so we never did. She didn’t want to go to police. She never did. And then one day she did.
A police officer came to take my statement. I told her everything I could remember about him & about what I had remembered. At the end of the statement she told me I was a victim and that they could build a case for me too. That kind of floored me. I was officially a victim, I wasn’t sure I liked that, it made me feel weak.
The investigation began. For months they couldn’t find him, he has such a common “Joe Bloggs” name, would they ever find him? It felt sometimes like it would never happen.
After months of not knowing anything, one day out of the blue the police called. Not only had they found him but he had been arrested and questioned him and was out on bail.