What does someone do with that type of information?
Well this someone sat on the fence.
Could it have been the casual way that the abuse was talked about and the seeming insignificance of some of the acts, such as inappropriate touching, that made my feelings ebb and flow? Normally in our house disclosure and abuse are talked about in professional but passionate terms. These conversations draw deep feelings of revulsion and anger towards the perpetrator and compassion and sadness for the victim. So could it be that it was the time lapse or the almost flippant way that these things were talked about that made me non committal?
I now realise that perhaps people that have held onto this for such a long period of time and in this unique environment, need to test the water or even that our indoctrination by the church still pervades to the point of denial (it is better to bury our heads in the sand than to confront the awful reality of what was being said). It was only at further reunions when more disclosures were made, generally in the same casual manner, but by closer friends, that I started to feel strongly that I had to do something.
It all felt so sudden and traumatic. One minute I was with my family and part of it. The next I was alone and on my own. With them driving off, waving goodbye and leaving me. My family had been substituted by many anonymous strangers.
All the security and love, the things that made me who I was, had gone and left me. The attachments, the touches, the sounds, everything that I had come to know and love, and be loved by, were no longer with me.
Even now, I find it difficult to use words, and to find words to describe the loss, pain and fear that I experienced then.
It didn’t seem to matter that the move to Mirfield had been discussed numerous times beforehand. I was a child, and until it became real, I viewed the move through the eyes and mind of the child that I was. The idea of the move was one of excitement and adventure. The reality was very, very different.
Looking back – especially when looking at the first term – I realise that what I was going through and feeling and experiencing was depression. I remember spending a lot of time on my own, sobbing my heart out – literally – and being totally withdrawn and existing and living in a world of my own.
My biggest fear was that, whilst I was away, everything at home would change and consequently I would not be loved by my family any more. I needed constant reassurance that this was not happening. And so wrote letters home every day, with either my mum or dad – usually my mum – replying to each one.