I am Ruby. I am a 41 year old woman who is about to restart her life.
My story is one filled with pain, sadness, loneliness, abuse and depression, but also one of love, support, humour, friends, forgiveness, and justice and healing. This is a story about moving on from historic child abuse. Many cases have come to light in the last couple of years, thanks to the efforts of the police whilst dealing with Operation Yew Tree, and several other big cases relating to child sex abuse cases that happened many years ago.
My life and my journey to recovery are now. How I arrived at this point has many turns and tales, but my future is unknown.
The beginning of my new life begins in the middle of chaos and hurt, but I know that with strength and support, I will make it to the other end. Hopefully I will emerge as a stronger, fully functioning adult without the burden of the secrets kept for many years.
I will share many occasions with you about how abuse, although kept secret, has affected my life, my relationships, my actions, and my place in the universe right now.
I will take you on my journey for justice and recovery, whilst not knowing the outcome yet, but also tell you why this is so important to me, right here, and right now, and how this has all come about. It has been a long road, littered by the ups and downs of life, but how I have dealt with those ups and downs has been affected by my past, and I can only now see that. I am excited to meet the person that I should have / could have been.
This is a positive tale, with hopes and dreams of a positive outcome. I have had a good life and many of them in my 40 years. My embarkation of this new life is frightening, but exciting.
I hope you join me…
(All names in this story have been changed to protect the individuals involved. They will all know who they are, and many are happy for me to share their stories, but to avoid any unnecessary pain, pseudonyms have been put in place.)
How is this fair!! At the moment, he knows more about what is happening than me. He was in court with his lawyer; he was told what was going on. I received a call the victim crisis team, after the event explaining that it had been postponed, but they didn’t know why.
‘How contrasting’, I thought, to the day that Twat Face was experiencing. From what I have heard, they have now informed their children, (the children are in their fifties, and they didn’t tell them until after Christmas as they didn’t want to spoil it… bless) and they had the humiliating prospect of standing in court. They will have been dreading this as long as I have been willing it to come. They will want it behind them as much as me, but for very different reasons I should think. I want to begin a new life, a happy life without ‘The Shadow’, my dark secret that follows me everywhere, even across the seas.
Hobbies are important to your well being. It is important to take some time out to do something that you enjoy. Do something that is for you, and not for someone else. Whatever it is, if you enjoy it, do it. It gives you purpose and a reason; it can be therapeutic, distracting and satisfying. The first I have is photography, something that I can’t believe took me so long to find, and the second is knitting, which I found years before I thought I would.
If someone were to mention that ‘Sophie’s Choice’ was on, she would declare her disinterest, stating that she had lived it, so didn’t need to watch it. I never understood her reluctance until this trip.
We spent a day visiting the concentration camps of Auschwitz, and Auschwitz, Birkenau. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. It’s certainly not Disney Land, it isn’t happy, there are no birds singing, but it reminds you of the cruelty that humans are capable of.
Is it wrong to feel excited about feeling sad? I’m not sure, but people who have suffered with depression may understand what I mean when I talk about the inability to feel for a long time. The empty feeling, the heaviness due to not feeling anything is just as painful as ‘real’ pain.
When we looked at the date, it confirmed my worst fears. I was wrong, but so was he. The details were all correct. I had gone to a new form class, but what I hadn’t remembered was the ‘me’ before this took place. The class I was in when I went to big school. Instead, I remembered the new class after I had taken my options. It did all feel new, but I had missed out the first 2 years of school as it was remarkably uneventful.
The community are shattered by this; you have destroyed the trust of so many people. You have spent the years trading pleasantries with my parents, despite me asking you many years ago to not speak to them. You didn’t deserve people so good in your life, and they didn’t deserve the person that made it so difficult for me to be in theirs.
This left me feeling extremely sensitive, not being able to shout it from the rooftops, the elation was stifled and suppressed and that has filled me with emotion that I don’t know what to do with. What if something goes wrong? What if they can’t get the final pieces of evidence that they require? What if??????
The less I do, the less I want to do, the less I want to do, the less I do. I feel like my brain is slowly stopping, and I can’t do anything about it. When depression comes, every time, there is a steady decline in the ability to conceive of doing anything that requires physical or mental assertion.
Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It is the fear of failure, but no motivation or urge to be productive. It is wanting your friends around you, but hating socialising. It is wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely. It is caring about everything, and then caring about nothing. It is feeling everything at once, and then feeling paralysingly numb.
Not that I suppose you care, but how about you humor me for a moment. There may be something here that you could use in your act; I have been called funny in the past. Many of those times, I have been admittedly rather mean, so people just think that I am joking, but for your purpose, I don’t suppose it makes any difference how you get your laughs, similarly, you it doesn’t seem to matter to you how your actions have affected other people, or do you really just not care?
48 hours was all it took. Jack Bower has some serious competition with Jackie. I’m not saying that she is over it, of course not, but she dealt with it in her head, and got to the position that it ‘was what it was’, it couldn’t be changed, therefore, the only course of action was to deal with it, move on, make sure that the children were ok, and pull herself together. It was amazing to watch, and I felt so privileged to have a friend that was so strong. I did try to tell her, but it reduced me to tears, and does now as I write this.
I have been lucky to not just meet many people that have brought me laughs, been good company, been the source of unlimited entertainment, and sometimes lovers, but in each, I have met just one or two people that have continued my journey with me, and become my ‘No Good for a Kidney Family’. Not that anyone of them would have a problem giving me a kidney if I needed one – that’s the amount of faith and love there is, but there is; a) probably not a genetically good match, and b) My kidneys are about the only part of me that I have no issues with at all, so I shouldn’t need one. I should maybe be a little concerned that some of them have not quite looked after their kidneys quite as well as me, and may well require one from me at some point if they aren’t careful…
I was wrong! In part 2, I suggested that going to the doctors may not be as helpful as it could be due to the time I would need to go through everything with the doctor, who as my temporary doctor, may not have the same level of concern for me as she may if I were a long term patient. How wrong I was, and how pleasantly surprised as well.
What if the CPS decides not to prosecute Twat Face? How will I feel? I can't imagine that they won't due to his confession to part of the charges, but there is also a chance that due to his age, and ill health, that they will chose not to as there is no guarantee that he will live to the end of a trial, and there is no chance that he could survive jail. If they don't, then that is it. I will have gone through this for nothing, knowing that I left it too long. The worry that he could get away with this, or worse, due to them not prosecuting, people could wrongly believe that there was no case! That would be devastating to both me and my family. It could look like I was lying, and even though my first question would be 'why would she lie?', maybe other people would just jump to conclusions and assume that if there is no charge, there is no crime. Living with knowing that I left it too long would really be quite a heavy burden.
My feelings on the inside were slightly more confused. I wasn’t really sure how I felt to be honest. There was a small part of me that felt guilty that the stress of the situation had caused this. This was a ball that I had decided to start rolling, and if this was the consequence, would his family blame me for bringing it up? I also felt angry.
When people talk to me, if my brain is in a busy state, I can’t take in what they are saying, I can’t cope with any anger, hyper behavior, loud shrill voices, people talking over each other, loud noises or discord, without anxiety building, my ability to focus on any one point being debilitated, and my patients seem to titter on the edge of me screaming for everyone to stop.
I honestly thought mum had gone mad. There is no way that someone with children, someone that loves you would say something so cruel to someone in the painful position that my mum had found herself in. No way would someone take this, as an opportunity to point out that she would have been a better mother!
He admitted that he did something wrong. He admitted that he was a paedophile – despite not admitting it to himself. Blaming an eleven year old girl proves to me that he doesn’t believe what he did was wrong. All the things that he has said to me over the years, the apologies, the fact that I was his cross to bear etc… it was all a load of crap really. I take a little joy from this fact though, for as long as he feels like this, the treatment from others, the loss of his community and church support will hurt even more, and that will be his cross to bear.
The police have not contacted him yet. They are collating information first. They have statements to collect from two important people. One is Super Ex, and the other is Jackie. Super Ex can confirm that this is by no means a story that I have plucked out of the air during this visit, and also testify to the effect it has had on my life and our relationship. Jackie was my closest friend when I was in the RAF. She was the person that convinced me to confront him 20 years ago, and looked after my baby son when I made a long call to him from her house. I told him how he had affected me up to that point, thinking at the time that it couldn't actually get any worse.
Yesterday was a difficult day; it was my interview with the police. I haven’t slept in almost 4 months with the anxiety of this trip. The most difficult part being telling my parents, and then the next most difficult was going into detail about the abuse with the police. People have been kind over the years, and I’ve not needed to give out the intimate details. People have been happy with the amount of information that I have been happy to share. Even a small amount of detail gave a big explanation in to some of my behavior or moods.
I caught up with him, but for someone who is supposedly almost crippled, he had managed to get ahead enough that I had to step up my pace quite a bit. I’m not sure why, but I started the conversation with the words; ‘I’m sorry’.
“I’m sorry, but I had to tell them, I hope you understand”
I only started smoking initially because of Twat Face. This was a terrible decision that I made as a child based on extremely flawed logic. My mum and dad both hate smoking. Nice young ladies don’t smoke, it looks common. I didn’t want to be a nice young lady; I knew what happened to them!! So, my adolescent logic told me that if my father disapproved, then other men his age would too, and then they would stay away.
As strong as I am feeling, there is no stopping the tears. I have to hold it together for one more day, but then, if I don’t tell them, I will be destroyed. I could not imagine going back to face my friends, when they have given me unconditional support and prepared me for this ordeal over the previous few months. They are all routing for me, have been consistently supportive, and not one of them has wavered. I have to do this for them as much as me.
My nights are the worse times. The closer I get to going home, the less sleep I seem to be able to get. Every night, I lay thinking about the changes that are to come. I feel actual fear, after everyone else in the house settles down for the evening, and I am alone, the anxiety builds up. It feels physical, and my body starts to ache with tension. My head feels too full and overactive, I play over and over, every single scenario, some leave me weeping until my tummy hurts, my nerves get more frayed until I am unable to hold a cup of coffee without shaking and spilling it.
I had a bit of a break down recently. For over twenty years I have lived and managed Clinical Depression. I know the signs, and over the years I have learnt to ask myself the right questions, and trust the doctor. If you build a good relationship with your doctor, you can manage depression successfully.
Apparently, life begins at 40. I’m running late by 2 years, but; do you know what? I am now bloody well ready!
I’m ready to find out who I am without being ‘defined’ by my secret that is about to come out and blow apart the world of the ones I've endeavored to protect, but I also feel responsible for the fall out that is inevitable.
My pain is immense, the burden is heavy. I already regret the pain and hurt that these next few weeks will bring to the most important people in my life, but pray that they understand why I didn’t tell them sooner.