knowledge is power – making it the biggest conversation we will have

With the new year in full swing, there is no looking back now, only forward with my daughter’s pending birthday taking focus, I now have time to reflect on the ending of my 2017, and of course the planning of her birthday. It wasn’t all fun and games for me wrapping up 2017, I was given a wealth of knowledge from my childhood that is heartbreaking to hear, exciting in some ways, and with quite a bit of confusion thrown in. The confusion is how I deal with it, or more like how well I have already dealt with parts of it. There is more to work through and understand, however I am still standing, and smiling. That has to be good.

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I think in a way Christmas was a blessing. It allowed me to focus on what is important to me now, and that is my two children.

I have felt anger towards my mum in her decisions, and how others have seen things that she should have stood up and put her big mum pants on for. I feel for the brother I have lost over the years to drugs. To hear the aggressive abuse he went through as a child is heartbreaking. I knew my father was an arsehole, angry, and a monster behind those 4 walls. Some didn’t even see it, they saw him as a spineless, no friends, weak man. I have since learned from sharing my story with ABC News that my dad was aggressive towards my brother in public. {I want to hug him so hard right now – mum and I said he was abused. We knew he had sexually abused my brother}. To find out that he openly and aggressively disciplined my brother makes me sad, angry and hurt. I had been hurt publicly a few times, mostly behind closed doors with my father’s belt, hand, or anything he could find at the time to discipline me with.

Back then people spoke in whispers and they kept secrets. I hate that. Really hate it in the full meaning of hate; the opposite of love. It hurts me so much that my mum died with secrets, things she kept from me that could have helped my court case against my father, things she knew and said to others, but not to me. I love her, I never will stop loving my mum, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t be upset with her for not helping in the way she should have as my mother. She was meant to protect me. She did in some ways, but she had the power in her to protect me more. Why she didn’t use that knowledge to help me is beyond my control and understanding.

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To give you more of an understanding of my journey when I first shared my abuse, my mum initially asked if I dreamed it. That first response was seconds of a first reaction. After that she was holding me and telling me I needed to get on with my life now and she believed me. That belief was great, but it didn’t stop the fact I was scared shitless of further sexual abuse and my father actually killing me.

My mum had no choice to come with me to court. I did it all on my own from the beginning. The moment I went to court, she had to be there. It was by law she was there, to give her evidence. However I believe she was also there by choice to stand by my side. {I was a determined little shit. She knew that, and they were her words she used to explain a big part of my personality}. My first counseling session was booked in by me. I did that. I went on my own, and I did all of my counseling over the years, by myself. Sometimes I didn’t like it. I remember leaving one counselor as she told me I had to deal with the skeletons in my closet. Basically forgive and move on. Fuck that. You may be someone that believes that forgiveness is the only way forward, however I will never forgive my father for what he did to me. I have dealt with it, used it as a positive to drive my life forward, helped a lot of people along the way, and I continue to use my past to create the future I deserve. I don’t need to forgive him to live a healthy life.  I was one strong young woman – I still have no idea how I survived, and where that strength came from. I even booked into a new counselor as time went on to seek more support going through court. I walked into the sexual assault unit of the police station on my own to write my statement. I didn’t have anyone standing with me. I had no support. I was it. I was my only support.

I don’t dislike my mum for not being there in a way that maybe she should have been. I talk highly of her. I always will talk highly of her. However I think it is healthy and ok for me to say I am not happy with her choices to stand right back knowing very well she had pieces of life she could have shared to help make me feel safe, and to prevent further abuse of other children. Would that knowledge she took with her been enough to put him in jail, I will never know. Is it enough for me to take him back to court, maybe it is. Is it something I would want to do. I don’t know. You read that last sentence of the paragraph before, ‘I was my only support,‘ and I would say I wouldn’t ever go backwards to move forward. The thing is, people may say they are here for you, they will stand right beside you, and I have no doubt those friends that know this new information would be there if they could be. They also need to understand that they have families, responsibilities and commitments. Court cases take years, and I don’t even know what I am doing and what will even happen tomorrow, let alone in 2 years time.

You could say, I am forgiving in someway. I am living my life, I am using what I have as a driving force to help make change, to support others in ways that I can support people and I am giving my two children the life I didn’t have. To live without fear.

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The main part of this new information that I need to act on is health related for my sister, and we are acting to make sure she is ok. The second part is my brother and how I approach that part is beyond me at the moment. I feel with his drug addictions I need to be cautious and make sure I put my little family first. I completely understand now why he chose a path that is destructive to himself. I am lucky mine was an eating disorder, and I hated even the thought of drugs. I never wanted to be out of control of myself. I always wanted to be ready for my father so I could be the strongest person I could be to fight for my life. It never stopped me from trying to control something, and that was food, and it was a way of punishing myself for his actions. It isn’t awesome, however it is unfortunately something a lot of survivors of abuse go through. I was lucky to have found my running legs, my way of not feeling the pain of the abuse I faced. Maybe that is where my strength to survive came from.

It is hard for me to find the words for this post, for it to be less cryptic than it is. I obviously need to protect parts of me as I am only just pulling it apart to understand it all myself and I need to decide which path I take to make this a new level of strength in my journey to be brave. I have new memories of a time that was buried. But with stories of an old family friend coming forward,  I have images, reels of a part of my life that was wiped for protection that now makes up a full chapter of a life buried in fear. I am grateful this man came forward. I learned a lot, I still have a lot to learn, and I know I will use it all in a positive way. I do believe my mum was an awesome mum, I believe she had a level of abuse from him that may have prevented her from speaking louder, and I am sad my mum died with secrets that could have allowed her to live a happier life, and secrets that could have helped me live a life without fear a lot earlier than I have.

Abuse is a huge secret. I am turning it into being the biggest conversation we will have. This year I will try to make my voice the loudest it can be. I will get stronger, and braver to step forward to drive change for children at risk of abuse.

always brave.

 

bda
  • January 4, 2018 - 10:34 am

    Kate - You’re amazing Hayley. Hearing new info must be mind blowing, upsetting, devastating in regards to your mum disappointing you, despite how much you love her & it must also be kind of empowering to maybe have something to work with to go after the bastard! Are the police officers from years ago still around to help? Do you even want to open it all up again? I guess is what must be playing on your mind. I agree with saying fuck you to forgiveness. Don’t you ever feel you owe the bastard anything. You don’t have to forgive or forget to move on, y’all can just acknowledge it makes you absolutely sad & furious, but know it’s in the past and that you can move forward like you say. Anyway all power to you. xReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2018 - 12:19 am

      little pinwheel - thank you Kate! It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I am angry with my mum, but I think I have every right to be. I thought it wasn’t a good feeling to feel towards her, however I realise it is normal to feel that under the circumstances. I feel a little guilty feeling it without her being able to talk to me and give me her reasoning behind her decisions. Her level of protection sucks, because she could have protected on a bigger level that allowed justice and for him to stop abusing anymore children. I don’t have to wear that though, I have no doubt she wore it, and that is why we were so close in our relationship. I am not sure if those same police would still be around. I am sure there are more than capable sexual assault police officers that would happily take the case on. Do I want to open it up again…. I don’t think I do in the same way I did back when I initially took him to court. I don’t feel guilty or wear that pain of knowing he would have continued abusing other children in his lifetime. That guilt can be worn by the legal system. I did all I could back then. The amount of work I have put into being the woman I am today, would be hurt from the process, and I think I have been hurt enough. I believe, (and far out I could be so wrong), that my strength, voice, and courage is best used in positive ways to help others and continue this conversation. This is how I feel right now… who knows how I will feel when I really process all of this! xReplyCancel

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