Witness impact statement from Ruby
After so many years of you accepting responsibility, and apologizing for what you did all those years ago I was hoping that things would have turned out differently. I hoped that you would have admitted to the police what you did, as quickly as you have admitted it to me. If you had, then I wouldn’t have been forced to sit and think about just how much you have affected my entire life, instead of just dealing with each event as it happens.
A nervous breakdown has led me to this point, a nervous breakdown that was most certainly in part caused by you. How do I even begin to list how what happened affected me?
I will be honest and say that at the beginning, it didn’t. I didn’t like it, it made me angry, and it even turned me in to a thief, stealing thick woolen tights from a neighbor that trusted me, so that you couldn’t reach me. You would tell me that you wished I wouldn’t wear them, and ask me not too, but I had to, as I was not enjoying like you.
“Sit on the settee if you like this and on the chair tomorrow if you don’t” you would say. The next morning I would arrive thinking that today, maybe, I would be ok. But no, the chair would be piled high with music books, or work folders, to many for me to move. Maybe your wife would stay today; then I would be ok, but no. Every morning she would go and help the neighbor. My school work suffered as I was so preoccupied. I was a good student up to that point, but my grades suffered after that. I often think ‘what if?’ and then the anger comes.
I liked your family, and for so many years I kept this from my family to protect yours. I didn’t think that they deserved to suffer for something that you had done. Now that I am older, and I have finally told my family, I regret so much not speaking out sooner. I am not expecting thanks from your family for saving them from this horror for most of their lives.
You have been a huge factor in my life. As the years have rolled on, there have been more and more events that have been affected. It has snowballed and become worse and worse as each special moment has been tarnished by the thought of you.
My wedding night, it should have been a magical time with my husband. After a perfect day, a beautiful hotel, the start of a new life, you were on my mind as he helped me out of my dress.
Our married life was marred by the memory of you, but with his help and patience, we conceived my son. During each doctor’s appointment, during each examination, all excitement was replaced by thoughts of you. I would feel anxious, nervous and sick. This feeling has never left me when I am in a relationship or a doctor’s examination. During all of my relationships, I have been fighting this feeling, and knowing that it is wrong, I have descended again and again in to deep depression. I have felt a failure at not being able to maintain a relationship. Friendships I can do, but the physical side causes many problems due to it being such a vital part of a loving committed relationship. I don’t have the luxury of having a partner to rely on if times get tough or 2 salaries to live on, and it is unlikely that I ever will. I have managed short term relationships, but they all eventually end due to the fact that I cannot maintain a normal healthy physical relationship.
I have been through counseling over the years, but despite now accepting that I cannot change what happened, it doesn’t mean that I do not still mourn the loss of who I may have been had you not decided that a child of 13 was ‘pretty and precocious’.
Depression has plagued my life, and resulted in many years of reliance on medication. I have ‘got through’ most of the worst times with the help of my friends, but they have all heard my story many times, and have all said that without me confronting this issue and having some sort of closure and justice, there is limited help that they can offer me.
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.
I am angry that you have become the epitome of good within the church, becoming a lay preacher, giving communion to my mother, and within the community, visiting the sick. But as I have learned over the years, charitable work seems to ease the conscience of people who have done this sort of thing.
My parents still live 5 doors away from you; you will be a constant reminder to them of the daughter that they have lost, that was replaced by a child harboring a secret that became too big a burden to carry.
When I arrived home, I informed you that I had told my parents. You left the church in such a hurry. I caught up with you, and found myself apologizing to you for telling them, and saying that I just couldn’t keep it in anymore. I had had a breakdown, I needed my family, but I couldn’t come home and be near you. I became so sick, my friends were concerned with my well-being, and would worry about coming to my room in the morning in case they found something terrible. I suffered because of you, and couldn’t find the strength to come home for help also because of you. I told you that, and your response was that I was your cross to bear, and that you had been lucky that having told your wife, she had forgiven you. You are extremely lucky as knowing the effect that it has had on me, I’m not sure I could forgive someone for that. I want to, not for your sake, but for mine, like you said, it will make it harder for me if I don’t let go of the anger.
In short, how you affected me, is that you have attributed to severe depression and anxiety that has required much medication and continues to do so. You have caused a requirement for me to attend counseling just to make sense of some of my feelings, and been a factor in the majority of my relationships failing. You have marred every major event in my life including my wedding and the birth of my child, and made me totally unable to have a normal physical relationship. I spent years not knowing what ‘normal’ behavior was. Doing things that I didn’t like because I thought it was expected, and I didn’t want people to know that I was different. You have affected my relationship with my family. As a close family, I have had to rely on them coming to me as I have hated being home and having to pass your house every time I come to, or leave the house. I haven’t had the close relationship with my mum that I know she and I would have loved. I spent my formative years trying to be the sort of person that people like you didn’t want. You were the same age as my father, so in my innocence, I guessed that anything he didn’t like would keep people like you away, so I did things that would make him disappointed as a way to protect myself. I don’t know how I will ever make it up to my father; the awful cloths, the awful hair, the terrible make-up, the tattoos, the disappointment.
I hope that after this, after it is over, and I have seen you punished in whatever way the court deems fair, I will be able to move forward with my life, seek counseling, and find a way to recover.