Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Beginning - Part 2

I decided to break up the posts from my former site. There was more than I realised.

 So Part 2 -

 I leave the story for a little today. Some recent events have occurred that make me mad, that hurt me deeply. In 2004 I decided that for my own mental health that I finally had to confront what had happened to me as a child. It had been over 20 years since the abuse had started. I didn't know if I could press charges, call him to account. One phone call later and the ball was rolling. I made a long statement, spending 3 or more hours recounting flashes of memory. It was emotionally draining, terrifying and excruciatingly painful. It was then handed over to a local police officer. He rang me once, told me he had the case and would call me again to let me know what happened. A few months later I began to wonder what was happening, so I rang the police station. The officer in question had resigned. All his case files were packed up and dumped on to other officers. My file ended up buried and unattended.

 Approximately 3 years later two of 'Griff's' biological daughters filed charges. Around the same time someone in the local officer discovered my file and forwarded it to the Investigating Officer. Suddenly things seemed to start happening. Other important witnesses were interviewed and it looked like things would finally go somewhere. 5 years later it has all come to a screeching halt. Charges have been laid, court sessions have occurred, legal argument has flown. He is unfit to stand trial. The 'justice' system says it would not be fair on him because he has a disease now that affects his brain. The system says that 'justice' is not best served by continuing. He gets to forget his crimes as his brain deteriorates, whilst me and my fellow victims get to relive it over and over. This is apparently 'justice'.

 Then to add salt to an already painful wound. I discover that prior to my own abuse, Griff had admitted, to a government body charged with protecting children, to abusing his biological daughters. His penalty? Psychiatric counselling. And a promise not to do it again. The police were never involved, no public record was made, no follow up. A child protection agency let a self confessed child abuser walk free to commit his crimes again.

 My abuse could have been avoided. My best friend may not have taken her life, unable to deal with her memories of him abusing her. My brothers may have been spared their demons. My mother could have avoided the years of domestic violence at his hands. I hope that we, as a society, have changed enough for the better for something like this to never, ever happen again.

 With my parents separation we moved from our suburban Adelaide home in a country area in the Adelaide Hills. From a modern family home we moved into an old stone house that had had additions that made it somewhat rabbit warren like. Many of the rooms had fireplaces and high ceilings. From a manicured easy care garden to a huge rambling yard that ended in a leech infested stream. Everything was different.

It is one thing to be ripped from your home and transplanted into an environment that is largely similar, and quite another to be transplanted to a place that was like an entire new planet. We were enrolled in the local school, which was tiny. My city school was enormous with hundreds of children, this one barely had 50 students. I struggled to make friends, I struggled to adjust and found myself bored more often than not. I was so far advanced, in educational terms, to the rest of my peers that they considered jumping me straight from year 1 to year 3.

It wasn't all bad, I had the most amazing teacher. I loved him to bits and I remember my time in his class fondly. In the end we were only at that school for a year, but it had a profound effect. The home front was a whole different story. One that was rapidly turning into a nightmare for me. It started innocuously enough. An invitation from Griff to check out some books and magazines he kept in the greenhouse behind the main house. The main book was 'The Joy of Sex'. I was 6.

The image of me sitting on the wooden bench in the greenhouse while Griff went through this book is burned in my brain. I had never seen anything like that. I doubt at that point I had ever really seen a naked male body at all. Then he showed me magazines full of naked women. I didn't know why he was showing this stuff to me, why he kept talking about what the people were doing, why they were doing it. It made me scared and uncomfortable, but I had been brought up to do as I was told and this man was apparently to be my new father. It was just the beginning, worse was to come.

 I was born into a family that was not really physically demonstrative, that valued privacy and where children were taught to unquestioningly follow the directions of those in authority or positions of respect. Suddenly I found myself in a house where privacy didn't exist, where physically demonstrations of 'love' were prevalent and where some of the directions being made were uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Griff didn't believe in wearing underpants unless it was a 'formal' type occasion. He preferred short shorts.. loose short shorts. And that was when he felt 'forced' to wear clothing. He preferred nudity, for himself and for those he lived with. This was a man of Caucasian descent who was nut brown on every inch of his body. I can honestly say that other than my brothers I had never seen a naked male before. And little boys do not really compare to a fully grown male. I was not comfortable with nudity, my brothers were not comfortable with it. It was upsetting to be subjected to it on a daily basis with no say in the matter.

Sexual literature was left in the open unless company was around. Images of sexuality were commonplace, such as statues or models of naked people. Griff would get angry when one of us refused to parade around in the buff, calling us prudes and going on about how 'natural' nudity was. Nudity is natural, but the sexual overtone that pervaded Griff's idea of nudity is not natural around young children, especially ones that barely know you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful. I moderate comments and unsavoury ones will be deleted.