6 years a go today when I was 19, I sat in a room with a police officer, surrounded by cameras. I was sat there for 2 and a half hours being asked question after question, drawing diagrams of rooms, floor plans of houses and hotel rooms to prove that I had been sexual abused by my own relative on and off for 13 years. I had to describe what I was wearing, what the weather was like, where we were, times and dates.
I relived everything I had been put through by that person.
I hope that since then the way that the police take statements from victims of this sort of crime is improved, but at the same time I understand why it has to be so thorough as it makes the case stronger and the chance of a guilty verdict higher, particularly in historic abuse cases.
I was a victim and have and will never ask for sympathy. However as someone who is meant to be a ‘victim’ I felt as though I was put on trial for those 2 and a half hours. I had to prove everything only for my abuser to be questioned the following year. He was able to answer no comment to every question and be released on bail and then commit suicide.
I never got to hear a guilty verdict or take him to court. He took an easier alternative. He never got to feel the shame that I did and still occasionally do for the things he put me through. He never and will never be accountable for taking the innocence of my childhood. I still get angry about what he did to me and how took my only way of holding him accountable for what he did and getting justice.
The effects of what happened to me are that I have on going mental health problems including PTSD but I refuse to be and stopped being silenced the day I went to the police because that is what he always wanted. I also believe it is one of the reasons why he committed suicide so that he would never face the consequences for what he did.
But I am lucky. I have an incredible support network; a loving family, an amazing and patient girlfriend and friends I can always count on without fail. I will always encourage anyone who feels they are able to, if they have ever been through anything similar or have been raped or sexually assaulted to speak up and try to get justice. You deserve the closure it may and can bring.
The photo for this post is of me taken on a holiday with my abuser during the period of time the abuse took place. I look happy but was hiding so much pain and one massive secret. It isn’t always obvious what a child is going through and they don’t always know what is happening is wrong. No one was to blame for what happened to me apart from my abuser.