I am no stranger to being "told" to prove myself or my accusations. It goes hand in hand with being a survivor of child sex abuse.
For me, I first had to prove it to a doctor who physically examined me as a 10 year old. My first step into being believed was counter-attacked by my subsequent suspension from the Catholic boarding school I attended at the time - guess there is nothing "god-like" about my telling them my darkest secrets. So yeah, even at 10, I knew there were "consequences" for speaking out and I also realised the only one that was going to be paying for those consequences, was me.
My second attempt to speak out was the initial police report I filed in 1984. I was no longer in danger but I feared for the siblings that remained with my offender. Upshot was the entire family, for one reason or another, hurdled themselves around the offender and the offender, himself, called me to say "I brought you into this world, I can take you out." I was left with no alternative but to flee New Zealand. In the process, I lost my family, my sense of belonging, and to a certain extent - myself.
I look back to that time and think "What on earth was I thinking?" I mean, there I was with a one-way ticket to London. I knew no one, had nowhere to stay, and yet all that unknown was nothing compared to my life back home. Some times people make decisions based on which fear is easier to deal with and all the horror movies of being kidnapped, raped, or even murdered didn't phase me. I was free from the past. That's all that mattered.
In 1992, I dared to return to NZ. I missed my big brother, my sister, my family. Yet within 24 hours of arriving, I was in A&E, beaten to a pulp by a family member because of "me and my big mouth." Truth be known, I was planning to marry someone I met in the UK and I refused to invite my offender, play happy families as it were - consequence.
The Police, at the time, advised me to return to the UK, marry... move on. I did just that.
A few years on, I was notified about subsequent victims. Same offender. And yes, that sent me down a spiral path I would not wish on my worse enemy. I felt like I had failed - it was my fault. And I had such anger towards the NZ Police for not "truly" investigating that I thought I would explode. I naively thought they were about Prevention rather than cure... I have since become more sympathetic to their ways.
I had, up until then, managed to maintain a normal existence - until my daughter was born and then... lord help me...the sight of that poor vulnerable being, totally at my mercy, dragged so much pain up inside of me I felt like I just couldn't keep it together any more. Now, more than ever, I wanted/needed my mother, my family, my sisters and brothers.... I separated and returned to NZ.
Those subsequent victims now wish to prosecute. Those same siblings I had begged for help from, now want me (big mouth, troublemaker) to help them, and two years ago, I filed my statement.
I can pull my head out of the clouds long enough to see just what the Police need from me in order to have a solid case. But there "handling" of me was worlds apart from the handling I received from ACC.
The Police investigate. They don't offer counselling. So their advice to get some from ACC to "help me" during the process was something I didn't think too untoward. But here's the difference: both the Police and ACC want the same thing - proof.
Police picked me up from my home. They had support people for me. They videoed the interview. Constantly asked if I needed a break. They took their guidance from me and from my support person. Yes, they asked for graphic detail. They asked for me to call a spade a spade. They asked me to relive every single detail and understood I could not just tell me story - I had to relive it. Afterwards, I sat with the support person for hours, bawling like a child (I'd been reduced to one) and later, they drove me home and checked in with me every day to see how I was doing.
From ACC, I got a letter. Meet this strange woman I'd never met at an address, 70kms from my home. I did. Again, she (just like the Police) wanted graphic details - exact details. Unlike the Police, there was no support person. The assessor had a flight in two hours; we were pushed for time. Afterwards, she thanked me and left the office. I, on the other hand, sat outside the office for three hours trying to figure out how on earth I was even going to get home. I had my daughter with me - figuring in childcare to meet with ACC demands just isn't an issue. And afterwards? Nothing! Not for months. At least the Police provided me with a transcript of my interview - which, I still haven't had the balls to read. From ACC, it took seven months of nagging before I even got a wee snippet of the initial assessors report - and that, in itself, did nothing but leave questions.
The months after the ACC assessment, I went from bad to worse. I don't think I would have classed myself as depressed before - sure, I'd had bad days but they were just "days" - this latest "episode" was something out of even my control. I fell in love with my couch. It was my haven. I couldn't even summon up the energy to even think about a shower let alone have one and in all honesty, both my child and I lived like pigs. I never left the house. I felt so exposed and so vulnerable - what with the Court case pending and my inability to even sleep - I was loosing it, big time.
My lowest was a feeble attempt to kill myself. I didn't have any pills or anything cause - catch 22 - I wasn't registered with a Doctor who could prescribe any and could never get an appointment to even see one. My last attempt to do just that, meant $92.00 just for them to put me on their books!... the walls were closing in.
I took to blogging. It's what saved my life - just 15 wee friends all chatting. I didn't even have to leave me couch! I admit, it was naive to think that anything I said couldn't reach a wider audience but, truth be told, I'd practically told everyone who was in a position to help, that I needed help and they couldn't give a toss... so I never thought anything I said mattered anyhow. Least of all the copious emails I sent to ACC.
From behind that blog, I grew stronger. I showered. I did some dishes. I listened and called in frequently to the Nutter's Club. My blogging friends encouraged me to leave my current situation.... up sticks and move on.... and I did.
I am now gainfully employed. Off the hamster wheel of WINZ. I'm finding my feet again. My kid is happy. I can pay for new school shoes. We're on a winner... onwards and upwards...
.... and then... Dr Jansen comes at me with a two-by-four.
Consequence. One thing I learned in 40 years of consequence is this: I ain't taken it any more! I'm sick and tired of running and I'm damned if I will sit and be bullied. Enough is enough. It's someone else's turn to learn the true meaning of "consequence."
In other words: "Whakapuakina te pono!"
In other words: "Whakapuakina te pono!"