I feel sick as I turn around and head back the way I came. I can’t explain the feeling I have inside, except that it is over powering me. Forcing me back the way I came. I have never had this feeling before but for some reason I know that I cannot ignore it. I also know that I cannot think about it too much because if I do I won’t go through with this.
I see the building in the distance. It is the building that I pass every time I go to therapy. It is the building that I passed this morning when I attended therapy. My stomach turns as I get closer and see the sign; Police Station.
I walk through the double doors praying that there will not be many people in there. I have never set foot in a police station in my life. I think I am going to be sick. I take a deep breath and approach the front desk. I am so grateful when I see that the officer behind the glass is a woman. I have no idea what I would have done if it had been a man.
The officer looks over at me and smiles. Suddenly I cannot move. My feet feel heavy and my legs feel like jelly. I am glued to the spot I am standing in and I can feel myself begin to panic. I must look scared as the officer asks if I am OK. Come on feet…move!!
I take a deep breath and walk towards her. My palms feel sweaty and I can feel the bile rising in my throat. I swallow. “I need to speak to someone about how to report something” I say and I also explain that I want it to be a female.
In that moment I can tell that she has figured out what I am there to talk about. Her face changes to a sympathetic look as she asks if I want to go into a private room to talk. I can’t seem to speak but I manage a nod. She leaves the desk and comes to take me to a private room.
We sit down and my legs are shaking. I can’t stop them. I explain that I would like some information on how to report something and she says she will do the best she can to help me. I hesitate when she asks what I want help with, and then I hear the words leave my mouth “I was abused for twenty years”.
She has a calming way about her as she explains that she will speak to her Sargeant to see if there is a specialist free to talk to me. By now my whole body is shaking and I have tears in my eyes. She makes me a cup of tea and asks me to wait.
Ten minutes pass, by which point I am so nervous I think if she doesn’t return soon I am going to pass out. She comes back with a specialist female DC and introduces us. Then she leaves.
The DC seems nice as she explains how she is a specialist who investigates historical child abuse, but not once can I make eye contact with her. She tells me she needs to ask me some questions and that she will help me as much as possible. I nod to let her know that is OK.
She begins by telling me that I am victim. She says she 100% believes me and that I will not be judged. I feel like I want to cry. She asks me who the person is who abused me. I tell her it is my stepfather. Then after a few more questions and discussing a few things she asks me a question that I think will break me.
“There are different severities of abuse. I need you to tell me which he did to you” she says. I nod and she continues. “Was it touching over clothing, touching under clothing or touching inside your body?” I reply that it was all three. Then she asks “Was it using his fingers or his penis?” I look down at the floor in shame as I answer that it was both. I want to curl up in a ball and disappear as she says that I was raped and that that is what she will put on the report. Yep. I want to cry.
She asks me a few more questions and explains the process to me. She explains that the next step is to get statements from me and that they will be recorded. She says from the basic information I have been able to give her that it may go to trial. I feel the bile rising in my throat again and take a sip of tea. She says that no matter what I decide to do now that she will have to investigate because it is so serious. Then she calls my friend to make sure I am looked after. She says she has a duty of care and must safe guard me, especially as she knows about my self-harm and PTSD.
I feel sick. I want to run away. Today I have started to report my abuse. Have I done the right thing?
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. My greatest fear is being vulnerable. For me it is tougher to be vulnerable than it is to be tough. However I have been bearing this untold story for too long. I have lived in darkness for too long.
The one thing I have been afraid of doing is the one thing that can set me free. I have to speak the truth, even though my voice shakes as I do. I have to find the courage to be heard. I have to be vulnerable. I have to find the strength to see this through.
It is time for me to stop hiding. If my voice held no power my abusers would not have tried to silence me. They know the truth. I know the truth and it can set me free.
It is time to find my wings. It is time to become a butterfly.
Today is the day I find my voice and owning my story will be the bravest thing I ever do.
Thanks for reading.