Finally. Finally, I get the call. It is not the call I have been dreaming of, the call about whether he is being charged or not, but it is the call to take me one step closer.
I answer the phone to my ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) assigned to me through the Rape Crisis Centre. She is my Legal support throughout this investigation. Without her I would be lost. Without her, I would never have been able to handle this investigation, for she makes sure to try to keep the Police in check. As much as she can anyway. She helps with all the legal jargon and helps me understand the process. I am thankful for her. Without her by my side, I am sure the Police would have been taking even longer than the five years they already have.
I answer her call. I am surprised because it is an unexpected call. Not like the ones we usually book in to catch up on any updates. It makes me feel uneasy. I am never sure what to expect when I get unexpected phone calls about the case. She asks if I have some to chat. Obviously, I say yes.
As usual, I expect the worst. Five years of phone calls with rubbish news, has meant I have given up hoping for good news. I never get my hopes up anymore. It is easier to cope with the worst. Usually her calls consist of her telling me that there is no new update from the Police, or that they have failed again in some way. I have learned to expect nothing else and I have learned to never get my hopes up.
However, this phone call, this phone call is different. She isn’t calling to tell me that there is no update or that the Police have just left my file just sitting on a desk for 6 months. No. This time she is calling to actually tell me something positive.
At first I am disheartened as she begins to tell me that the Police have handed my case back to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), for this has happened at least five times already. But then I am surprised when she begins to tell me that this time it is hopefully for the final time. That this time it is back with the CPS not just to be reviewed but for a decision to be made. A decision to be made whether to charge my abuser or let him walk free.
I am silent for a minute or two before I finally begin to speak to her. Luckily she knows it takes me some time to process things. She also knows that I will have been expecting bad news, the usual news, and she knows full well that this will have come as a shock to me, because I had kind of given up on this day ever happening. I don’t know what to think or how to feel. Silence.
Finally I am able to speak to her. I tell her the truth. I am scared. I am scared to get my hopes up. Scared about what decision they are going to make. Scared about how long it is going to take.
What if they make the wrong decision? What if they make the right one? Either way it will affect me hugely. If they make the wrong choice, if they choose to let him go free without charge, then all this will have been for nothing. The past five years of hard work, of pain, fear and tears, of fighting and giving my everything to this investigation, will have all been for nothing. For he will be free to hurt another innocent child. I am not sure how I will cope with that. I am not sure what I will do.
What if they make the right decision? What if they decide to charge him for what he did to me? What if it goes to court? That means I will have to stand up in front of people I have never met and tell them out loud what that monster did to me. I will be taken through each statement, piece by agonizing piece, made to relive every horrid detail, torn apart by his defence team, branded a liar. I will have to face that monster and look him in the eye, knowing that he has done unimaginable things to me. To charge him is the decision I want them to make, it is the right decision, but it isn’t necessarily the easier one. But I know that I can do it. I know that I can stand there and face him and tell those people what he did to me, because I have to make sure he doesn’t do it to another innocent child. All I can hope, is that because they have had the case this long, that they see something in it, that they believe in me enough to take this further and to charge him. But I am too scared to hope. I have tried that before so many times and it failed me.
In all honesty I am scared about both decisions and how I will cope with either. I know that I will but it doesn’t make either decision any less scary. And it doesn’t make waiting for the decision to be made any easier either.
After five years of this you would think that I would be used to the waiting, used to the not knowing. But this is worse. Now that I know that they are ready to make a decision, it has made this 1 million times worse. It is more real now.
I know that might not make any sense, but for five years I have slowly lost begun to lose all hope that it would ever get to this stage. I have waited and waited while the case has gone from the Police, to the CPS and back to the Police again, over and over, every time hoping that it would be at the stage of a decision, every time finding out that more was needing to be done, or that my case was just left aside and I was forgotten about for 6 months at a time. I had lost any hope of the CPS ever taking my case back to begin the decision making process. And so, while I knew that it could eventually happen, I had pushed it to the back of my mind and just learned to live as if it might never happen.
Well now it has happened. Now the CPS have the case and all they have to do is make that decision. I feel a lot of different emotions and I am very overwhelmed. I am happy that it is finally at this point. I am scared that it is finally at this point. I am fearful of it triggering so many different feelings and emotions, that part of me is just too afraid to even think about it at all. I have been handling it all so well lately, I am so afraid of what this milestone might do or trigger. Memories I don’t want to remember. Feelings I don’t want to feel. I know I will have to feel eventually. But right now, it is too overwhelming to believe that this is actually happening. Sometimes I cope better by keeping things closed off until I really have to face them and for now that feels safer. I am allowed to decide when I feel, when I face this. For that right has been taken from me my whole life.
I am finally one step closer, but how long the CPS will take to make a decision remains to be seen. It could be weeks. It could be months. It could be years. I only wish that it is sooner rather than later because I am not sure I can go through another five years of not knowing and living with this decision hanging over me. Every day waking up wondering if that day will be the day that I get that longed for phone call telling me they have finally made their decision.
That is the day I long for. That is the phone call that, deep down, I secretly hope for.
Thanks for reading.
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