It's a double edged sword. As good as it is to read that someone could be brought to justice for their alleged crimes, it brings up all the old heretofore 'unspeakable dilemnas' again. All the questions, for me, of whether to travel to the state where it mainly occurred and make a retrospective statement at a police station; whether to write to the perpetrators and tell them how their actions have affected the whole of my life and my partner's life; how anything I say would impact the rest of my family, their families; weighing up whether it makes sense to be even taking their feelings into consideration when I've carried such a painful burden all my life silently and alone.
Every time someone is arrested I glean some small helpful statement from a person in power. This is what head of the NSW Sex Crimes Squad Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec told reporters: "sexual assault and indecent assault leave scars on people, regardless of the time frame, to them it happened yesterday. Every day they relive it." I feel hope whenever I see that someone in this kind of position has some understanding of the situation I live with.
Even writing this article is a heart pounding excercise. I've spent my whole life unconsciously trying to cover up the 'dirty stain' and have only in the last couple of years made the decision to start talking about it as a way of prising the scab off this societal boil. And it's tricky. I'm working hard to leave behind the torture but many days in many ways, the intense feelings bubble up. But EVERY time I tell my story, it makes it possible for someone else to tell theirs. Silence and isolation are the killers....it's what the perpetrators depend upon. Mine never even needed to say to me, 'don't tell anyone'....and that indicates a whole family system in trouble. For many people who suicide, I am in no doubt that this was the silent killer....not all, but many.
The great thing about doing this painful recovery work is that it can change things dramatically for the next generation. My then eighteen month old daughter was able to tell my partner when an incident occurred and we were able to deal with it there and then through talking and humour. No drama (apart from my big sob that it had happened). No lifelong consequences.