I know that I should feel relief. I know that everyone wants me to feel relief….but I don’t. I really don’t.
I am still half asleep as I look at the screen of my phone and see the name of my Liaison Officer staring back at me. I answer and I am not sure how to process what she is telling me. Tears begin to roll down my cheeks. “He has been arrested” she says “He is currently at the police station awaiting interview”.
I cannot answer her. I feel vulnerable and alone. Becoming unsteady on my feet I sit on the edge of the bed, my heart is beating much too fast and I feel like I can’t breathe. I close my eyes and try to focus on her voice. As she speaks I take a deep breath and open my eyes, trying to work through the blurry vision.
I feel unprepared and frightened; I never thought that this day had come. I had convinced myself that I am nothing, that I am worthless. I convinced myself that I would never be believed.
After a few minutes she asks if I am OK. “I’m not sure” I answer. I feel like I want to run a mile. I feel like I want to run far away and pretend this isn’t happening.
We end our phone call with her telling me she will update me that evening. I hang up as tears are still rolling down my cheeks.
Her phone call makes it real now. My chest begins to tighten and emotions flood my mind. I can barely focus and just want the ground to swallow me up.
People told me I would feel relief but relief doesn’t come. I wish it would. Instead I am feeling frightened. I know this fear would engulf me if it could.
I know that like many others reading this, you will probably tell me to be happy and to feel relief at his arrest but I don’t. How can I be happy or relieved when I know what is to come? My journey is not over. My journey has only just begun.
This path will be the hardest path that I will ever walk. It is a path for truth and justice. It is a path that I must take but one which also means that I have to talk and tell strangers my secret. People will find out what he did to me.
People will hear my name and the terrible things that he did. Some things they will not be able to handle because they are just too horrible. Will people look at me differently? Will they hate me? Will they judge me? Will they see the fear and shame and sadness in my eyes that I try so hard to hide?
Today, his arrest means I lose my family permanently. OK so they were never really there for me and they were never really my family, but they were the only family I knew. Now that I have told my secret they will hate me even more than before. They know that they have protected him. Now they will only want to protect themselves. I am just as alone with this as I was when I was a 13 year old child.
However, today my voice was finally heard. As the police walked up to his door, as he was arrested, my voice was heard. They would have had no choice but to hear it. My secret is no more.
I know that I should feel relief and maybe happiness too but all I feel is sadness. Along with the sadness, I feel fear and shame and guilt. You might question the guilt. I cannot explain it, other than knowing my siblings lives are now going to be turned upside down because I spoke up. Yes, in reality it is because of him and what he did, but it doesn’t stop me feeling guilty for speaking up and turning their lives upside down.
I feel a lot of things right now; sadness, fear, shame, guilt, hurt and loneliness.
Please don’t try to tell me how I should feel. You really have no idea just how many emotions fill my soul at this moment. How did I ever make it to this point without breaking?
Suddenly the fear begins to take over. The guilt begins to make me sick. The pain and sadness begin to fill my chest. Shame begins to play its evil trick.
He has been arrested so why do I not feel even an ounce of relief? Because I know what is around the corner, a journey of pain. A journey that I am not sure I am strong enough to make it through. A journey that I know is going to bring me more sadness and I am not sure I can take any more hurt.
Maybe one day relief and happiness will eventually find their way to me but for now they are nowhere to be seen. The other emotions have taken over and, for now at least, are here to stay.
Yes, my abuser has finally been arrested but please don’t try to tell me how to feel. My story isn’t over. It has only just begun.
Today is the day I have been longing for but please don’t ask me to feel relief. I must now begin my fight for freedom, for justice and for peace.
I must dig deep and find my voice. I must speak through the sadness, fear and grief.
This path will be a scary one, for he made me keep this secret.
But now he knows… my scary secret is no more!
Thanks for reading
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