Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Beginning

Over a year ago I started a website to tell my story. Things happened and it didn't work out. So I am going to transfer the content from there to here and get on with the journey. So this first post will be disjointed, and long. But after that it should settle down.
The one thing I will be here is completely honest. I am going to attempt to blog every day, and that may well mean that some days you will get a two word blog and other days you will get a novella. My story will come out in fits and spurts, but by facing it I hope that I can finally get back my mind, free it, at least partly, from the depths of PTSD/anxiety/depression.

So, here is what came before.

Part 1 - The End is the Beginning

 I start my story at the end of one chapter, the most recent chapter. I have learnt a painful lesson. Justice is not always possible. Justice is not always fair. Sometimes bad people get away with horrible things. I was abused as a child, and as an adult I sought justice. I wanted him to pay for his crimes against myself and others. However, nature has decided to rob me of that. My abuser is unfit to go to trial. The evidence is there, all the other ducks are in a row, but apparently it is not fair on him to be tried in his present condition. A condition that will never get better. He gets fair, whilst he was never fair to me. This is our justice system at work. I understand the reasoning, but it does not make it easier to stomach. And I am angry, hurt, disappointed and despondent. I am still processing this development in my story, but it has made me consider how I move forward.

 I have decided that in order for me to move on, to get some sort of closure, that I need to share my story. Maybe it will help someone else who has suffered as I have. Maybe it will give someone the courage to continue on despite the pain they feel. Maybe it will give someone the strength to call to account those who have betrayed them in the most heinous way. I know telling my story will be painful, and not only to me. I have decided that in the interest of protecting the innocent that all names will be changed, including the name of my abuser.

Whilst he doesn't need protecting by naming him I risk the privacy of my family and friends and I wish no harm or upset to befall them. Some will then wonder why I am telling my story publicly if I feel that way. I do so because it is important for my recovery and I have their support in that. That doesn't mean that they need to be touched by it any more than they already have.

 How the story will proceed I do not know at present, but I feel it worming its way into existence.

 I was born into a blue collar family. My father, Bob, worked in the car industry. My mother, Mary, was a former nurse who by the time I came along was a full time stay at home mum. I'm not really sure my parents ever really loved each other. My mum wanted a family, my father wanted someone to take care of him and they appeared compatible. My mum's first pregnancy resulted in a full term still birth, a little boy, Shaun. The second pregnancy resulted in my brother, Sam. The third pregnancy was a miscarriage. The fourth pregnancy was my brother, Alan. Then mum was told not to try and have any more kids. My father was happy with his two boys. Then she got pregnant again. The doctors offered an abortion, my father pushed for one. My mum refused on the grounds that 'this one feels different, it's a girl'.

And it was. I made a rather hasty arrival at the end of Summer in 1975 in a coastal town in Victoria. My mum was overjoyed, a girl was always her dream. My father had no idea what to do with a daughter and yet as a young child I idolised him. At the end of my first year of life we moved to South Australia due to my father's work. My early years were fairly normal, although I was something of an overachiever. I drove Alan mad by learning to read by watching him learn when he started school. It must have been annoying to have a three year old reading as well as you do at 6. I was precocious, intelligent and completely unaware of the undercurrents in my family life. Everything just seemed to go along, my father worked long hours and barely seemed to notice us, my mum kept house and looked after us.

 In later years I found out that things were nowhere near as rosy as I thought. My father controlled the money and barely gave my mother enough housekeeping for her to do everything she needed to do. She was smart though. Every time she needed an increase she would write out a shopping list for my father to buy, including all the expensive brand names. My father would buy exactly what was on the list, he never looked for cheaper options. He would then be horrified by the prices and realise he needed to cough up more housekeeping. Mum would then go back to buying the cheaper stuff and use the extra money to buy material to make us clothes.

 I also found out many years later that they fought a lot. Always behind closed doors, always after I was asleep. My brothers later told me they often heard it, but I honestly never did. My mum told me once that they fought about decisions. Apparently my father was bad at making them. For example, we went on holidays every year. We always went to Halls Gap in the Grampians, where we would stay in a caravan or a tent and spend time with my Grandparents who lived in Victoria. My mum would ask him where he wanted to go for the holiday, he would say he didn't care, so Mum would organise to go to the Grampians because it was familiar and about halfway between our place and my grandparents. Then he would complain because 'we always go there'. So mum would again ask where he wanted to go and he would say he didn't know. He wouldn't look for anywhere else or offer any suggestions, he'd just complain and be angry with my mum.

 My mum was involved with the Scout and Guide movement, sometimes going on camps, often taking me with her. My first camp was when I was six weeks old and all the girls got a 'Mothering' badge for feeding and changing me!

When I was 6 she went on a canoeing trip with a group of other leaders and met a man called Griff. She invited him to dinner one night with my father and all of us children. I didn't like him. Neither did my brothers. I often wonder if my father realised then what was going to happen.

 There were some things that were static in my early years, things I knew I could count on. The front lounge and dining were out of bounds unless it was a special holiday or you were sick. School bags had to be put in your room after school, not dumped by the front door. Fruit juice, cakes, biscuits etc were treat foods, not every day foods. And Alan would test the boundaries every day. It was like a tradition. The day everything changed was a day marked by breaks in tradition. We came home from school one afternoon and as always Alan dumped his school bag by the front door. My mother didn't say a word. She was sitting in the front lounge room waiting for us. Alan obviously realised straight away something was up because he asked for Orange Juice. We were all expecting a no, instead Mum said yes. That's when I looked at her and noticed her eyes were red and puffy. This made me start crying, which made her start crying again. Once Alan had his juice, which he barely touched, Mum sat us down and told us that her and our dad were getting a divorce and we were going with her to live with Griff in the country. There was a lot of crying and displeasure from us kids, especially about the Griff part.

 When my father came home that afternoon he was carrying boxes. I went up to him for a hug and asked him if it was true. He pushed me away. For a girl who worshipped her father this was heartbreaking. Luckily for me I didn't hear until many years later just how little I had meant to him. When my mother had told him she was leaving he'd said 'I'll take the boys, you can have her.' My mum refused to split us up. I'm glad I didn't know it then, because it would have made what was to come a lot harder to deal with.

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