TW SEXUAL VIOLENCE
This is a text that is not easy to write down, but simultaneously too important to not do it. It is personal, very personal. That is why I have to write it down, both because it explains a lot about me as a person and because, more importantly, it is something that concerns so many people everywhere.
When I was 7 years old, I was sexually abused. I'll spare you the details and graphic descriptions. The things important about it are that a) it happened in the first place, b) it was not someone I knew, and c) I was lucky enough to survive. I also had the luck to be raised by a mother that made me feel safe enough with her that I told her rightaway, and we went to report it to the police the next day.
And then, a long time, nothing happened, and eventually, the case got closed.
I learned to live with what had happened to me. I never kept it a secret, but I didn't tell it without a reason either. I told it to everyone I dated a bit longer, and to close friends, because I always felt like that might be important to understand me better as a person, to understand why I was quite pessimistic when it came to police and reporting crimes, to understand why I had problems mentally and so on. With every time I told my story again, it became easier. I am now at a point where I can tell it without crying, just like the fact that it is. I also came to terms with that man not being caught. I had to.
Fourteen years later, when I was away in Exeter for my internship abroad, I got a call from the police in my home town, and first I thought I was in trouble - the most criminal thing I might have done in my life would be underage drinking by the way.
The officer told me an eight-years-old girl had been sexually abused, and apparently the cases were so similar that they dug out mine again. I was asked to tell my story once again and answer a few questions, and while the police officer handled me with great care on the phone and while another child had to experience what I experienced for this to happen, I was weirdly happy. After all this time, I had an actual chance to get justice.
I went to testify and answer the questions they had. While after fourteen years I had forgotten details, or remembered them wrong, I still was able to find better words for things and apparently that helped. A few months later, I got a call again.
They got him. For days, I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot. They got him. Yet, I was sceptical until I read in the newspaper that he testified to be my abuser as well. And they got him.
And now I got a letter informing me about my rights as a victim. The letter included his name. I know his name. To be honest, I don't really know why this is so important to me, but it is, even if I can't really explain it. Maybe because it makes it more real. It's hard to believe that this is not a dream, having your case solved after such a long time.
My family and friends keep asking me if I was okay. They think all of this might reopen old wounds. Weirdly, it doesn't. At least nothing more than a scratch. Mostly, I am happy and relieved. Of course, there's no way to undo what has been done to me and that poor other girl. But at least, he won't be able to hurt anyone else. And that's all I could ask for.
This is my story, and it's important to me to write it down for the world to see. First of all because silence doesn't help anyone. Secondly, because I hope that it might give hope to others who experience sexual abuse. Hope that they may get justice, and hope that they can heal.
People often claim that children who experienced sexual violence will never be able to live a normal life with that horrible memory. Now of course I can't speak for everyone, but for me, that's wrong.
I do live a normal life - and a good one. I have a job that I love, a wonderful family, my amazing boyfriend, awesome friends, and I am happy. Sure, I will never be able to forget what happened, but I rarely think about it. Not even once a week. Almost never. I have so many other things to think about. I live a good life. He did not destroy it. And that might be the best thing about all of this.