I am not what happened to me

I was not sure how to write this post.

My Timehop reminded me that I was in court a year ago with this post

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A friend on Twitter pointed out that Timehop is not always a good thing. Sometimes it reminds us of stuff we don’t need to be reminded of.

I see it differently.

I reported my abuser to the NSPCC for historical abuse in October 2013. 2 years later I attended court. The police and prosecution were almost 100% certain that they would get a guilty verdict based on my evidence. My evidence was a 3 hour video interview where I told them everything that had happened. Every detail, no matter how painful. I figured if I did that, it was worth it because it would give us the best chance of a conviction. I didn’t do it for validation, I did it because I believed he had, and would, abuse others. I was strong enough to be their voice thanks to Cognitive Hypnotherapy.

Over 2 days I had to go through watching my video evidence again. Re-living every horrific detail. I had to be questioned about being abused in front of a jury. I met with the prosecution barrister before the trial. They told me to talk to the jury. That is who I was giving evidence to. But the jury of 12 was made up of at least 10 student age lads. Each day at least one of them overslept and the trial was delayed. None of them made eye contact with me when I spoke. The looked down and they looked bored.

His testimonial was full of lies and he was destroyed by the prosecution. He turned up to the verdict with his suitcase.

He was found Not guilty.

In that moment, of hearing the verdict, I was devastated. I cried for 2 days.

It took me 3 months to feel that the tension from the shaking had left my body. I felt traumatised by what happened in court and the verdict seemed to have only served to enhance that. I went through all that for nothing? But it wasn’t for nothing. I had called him out. I had removed the power he had over me. Those memories no longer served a purpose and I visualised them dissipating into the breeze.

My head was clear.

I realised that the verdict did not matter. This happens with jury’s. They are unpredictable. Everyone believed me and not him – even the judge made it clear in his summing up.

In many ways the verdict was more liberating for me than a guilty verdict would have been. If it had been Guilty I would have talked about it, shared my story, again and again. Every time we tell our story, we relive it a little. I would have kept myself reliving what happened.

The verdict allowed me to let go once and for all. All the traumatic memories. All the meaning. Everything went away.

For the first time in my life I was free. I started a new chapter. I could be whoever I wanted to be.

A year later the Criminal Injuries Compensation board awarded me 100% based on the police evidence and my statement. It felt like a final vindication. I let go of the injustice of the verdict that had been plaguing me.

I went back to where I grew up, on holiday, knowing he lived there.

My past has no power over my present and my future.

I am not what happened to me.

And so my Timehop reminds me that it is possible to move on from even the most traumatic events in our lives. It reminds me that we don’t stay in the same place for any length of time. This too shall pass. Always.

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