It’s my birthday tomorrow. This time last year I headed to Forfar police station to do an interview. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The only thing harder was another interview I did a few months later on video that was even more in depth.
As it stands I am waiting on the CPS to decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go to court.
It has been such a hard year as I have gone through the different stages of this process.
I think it helps to be a bit naive about how things work sometimes.
I went into this process of reporting historical abuse for 2 reasons.
1. All my childhood I was made to keep secrets. I learnt at a young age not to speak out about anything that went on at home. As a result I felt like I was, in part, responsible for everything that went on. I felt broken and flawed. With Trevor’s help I realised it was never about me. I realised I did the best I could to get through it all. And I realised that I have done a pretty good job of that. My past cannot silence me now. No one has power over me anymore. So I decided to speak out. To stay quiet no longer.
2. But this is about more than talking. I could easily have shared with you more details about my childhood. In the main I have chosen not to because it’s not relevant. We all experience things in our own unique way. I am not defined by what happened to me. I am defined by how I moved on from what happened to me. Picking up the phone and reporting what happened to the NSPCC was about protecting others. It’s something that’s always sat heavily on me. He could do it to others. But until I let go of the belief that it was my fault I couldn’t act on that. I have now and I want to protect others. How can I do a job where I help other people every day and be ok with a genuine possibility that he was out there hurting others. I couldn’t. I can’t.
In August last year I picked up the phone.
Within a week the police came by to ask a few questions. Questions that were so hard to answer. As they left they said the next step would be a more in-depth interview. I was scared.
In October last year the in-depth interview took place in a local police station. It was awful. Really awful. I came away thinking I would never ever have to go there in my head again – so that was something. But then there were things I remembered after and I was worried that I hadn’t told the police officer that did the interview.
Then the case was handed to a specialist unit. They needed to know more and I offered to go down and do the interview again on tape. I wanted to be sure. If I was going to go through this hell, then it should achieve what I needed it to achieve. He should be brought to justice. That would be the only way to protect others.
I spent 3 hours in January in the worst living hell I can imagine.
This time it’s on tape though. I don’t need to go through that stuff again – in that level of detail.
Since then it has been going through due process. Evidence has been gathered.
He was arrested and interviewed and bailed.
Then the bail had to be extended so that key witnesses could be questioned.
Then it went to CPS.
It’s still with the CPS. They need to decide if there is enough evidence to reach a conviction in court. We know there is enough to make it worth prosecuting – the police would not have submitted it if not. But the CPS will only accept cases that have a realistic chance of a clear verdict.
The CPS are taking their time and bail has been extended again.
It feels like I have a guillotine hanging an inch from my neck. Even worse it feels like I put it there. It was my choice to start this process. Will it go to court or won’t it? If it doesn’t then I have been through a lot for nothing. If it does? Well then things are just going to get harder.
There is good in this though.
I no longer question what happened. I know it did and I know it wasn’t my fault.
I am no longer silenced. I have spoken out.
A friend who I haven’t been in touch with since school remembers me telling them what happened. They have carried a burden of guilt since then for not doing anything to help. This should have released them of that burden. It wasn’t my fault and it wasn’t theirs either.