Today he was charged with sexual offences against someone under 14.
Today was the day that confirmed that all the pain I have been through over the last year was worth it.
I am both elated and terrified. Elated because others are protected now. Terrified because it will mean going to court.
The court process will take a long time –as these things do. And that’s fine. There is nothing more for me to do now. This is about process and technicalities. And let’s face it, it is not me that is passing each moment with a jail sentence hanging over me!
I can sleep well now. The same can’t be said for others. Others who had one last chance to do right by me but instead chose to support him. They made their choices to protect themselves…again…and in so doing offered him extra protection by concealing the truth.
But you see, what happened happened. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says because it happened to me, not them. They can’t take away from the truth of that, they can only fail to support me in my truth. That was their choice. Like it was my choice to take the really difficult step to break the silence.
I can live with the choices I made.
And now court dates have been set the public side of this process has started. It is my hope that others come forward – because I have no doubt that there were others. And if they don’t feel strong enough to, I hope they watch, and feel that justice is being served for them too.
I am no longer silenced.
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Yesterday – 2 weeks to the day after we picked Gibson up – was the first day he had no accidents indoors.
It has been a really tough 2 weeks. He has been getting me up as early as 4:30am because he couldn’t keep his legs crossed any longer. Today it was just after 6am. Getting better.
When he’s not asleep we have had to be on constant alert to see if he needed to go out. Even then, he would just get up and have a wee when he felt like it.
His training is coming on well though. He sits brilliantly. He comes to the word “here” (unless he is trying to chase the cat or has found something interesting to eat!). I have even started him on the lead training and he’s getting better by the day.
There have been quite a number of times where the hubby and I have reached breaking point over the last 2 weeks. We thought it would be good having the little one off for the holidays when we got him. We were wrong! She wants to ‘help’ train him. She fusses him when he’s just gone to sleep and we thought we could take a moment to do something else rather than watch him like a hawk! Generally she has inadvertently made it a lot more difficult.
But she loves him. And he loves her. We’ve had her friends over to play which has given him some socialisation too.
So now we seem to be over the worst part (fingers crossed) I am hoping we will be able to begin to enjoy our new companion and focus on various aspects of his training. There will still be accidents of course. And we still need to be on alert but for the last couple of weeks it’s been all down side and little up side.
Anyway, here are some photos to show how much he is growing – and how cute he is
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.
Yesterday afternoon we picked up our new puppy, Gibson. He is a black Labrador and has a full pedigree as a gundog.
I got the fun of travelling all the way home with him in the car. He snuggled right into me, licked my face and ears and fell asleep for some of the 30 minute journey. The hubby, who was driving, was very jealous!
He was born on the 7th August so is still only young.
He settled in amazingly well.
He loves his cage (we are attempting cage training)
He is the hubby’s dog and will be a companion for him as he is the one at home all day. I am hoping he will come for runs with me as he gets older so we are making use of the natural recall instinct to train him to heel without a lead from day 1. At the age they will stay close and follow you. So we use a whistle when he’s running to me to confirm that’s a good behaviour. When he’s older, the theory is, all I have to do is blow the whistle and he will come to me.
He has picked it up quickly. So quickly that we can take him into the garden for his business without a lead and he will follow us back in the house no problem.
The training for this involved running up and down the garden which the little one was very happy about.
Talking about toilet training – that’s a bit more of a challenge. The plan was that the hubby would do night duty with him and that we would train him to go outside from the start. Couple of problems with this.
Firstly he didn’t seem to like the spot in the garden we chose and wouldn’t go there.
Secondly, he didn’t know the plan. He just stopped and went wherever. We were taking him outside regularly but then he’d come in and just do whatever wherever.
We realised the third flaw in the plan when I was in my room and I heard the hubby and little one discussing that Gibson had done a wee. But clearly he hadn't finished. The hubby calls me to come and grab him and take him out. By which point he has near killed himself picking this tiny dog up and is staggering towards me saying "get him outside" (the hubby has a knackered and painful back that makes bending down difficult and painful)
Meanwhile Gibson is mid-poo. I am stood by the mat at the front door saying to the hubby to put him there.
He hands him to me but by the time I put him on the mat it's too late. All done. Meanwhile, hubby who is now in agony staggers back to go and sit on the bed. Walking through...yep you guessed it...
Lesson is - given practical limitations - let's train him to go inside first and we will work on the outside bit! If he had just been left to do it where he was then I would have had a way easier job and the hubby would not have near killed himself.
We are all learning. We have pee mats by the way but he ignores them even when I put one down where he last went.
Now thought, just 1 day later he is going outside to a bit of grass and doing his business there. We have had a few wees in the house but more outside. He really is a clever little puppy.
He’s settled in well with the family. Spud has made his feelings known but is hanging around the same room as him more often than not
This was a 5am selfie from the hubby
Gibson has already learnt to sit, shake a paw, fetch and heel. Not bad within 1 day!
You can tell he’s a retriever
He loves carrying things and takes them all to his bed in his cage!
All in all we are in love. He is a brilliant puppy. The next couple of weeks will be tiring. Yesterday was exhausting and I collapsed into bed with nothing left to give. But it will be worth it.
The little one was always a bit scared of scooters. Ages ago her nana sent her a really good one but she avoided it. Once she learnt to ride her bike she was braver about trying the scooter again. So today we went down by the sea in Arbroath so she could scoot along the lovely path
Then she had a play with the sea. It tried to nip her toes and she goaded it!
He is a black Labrador and he picked us. When we went to pick our puppy he sat right by the little one and waited for her to pay him attention while his brothers and sisters ran around boisterously.
He introduced himself to each of us.
We pick him up the first week of October and we are all super excited
Oh and it’s a good job I’m getting new shoes because while Gibson was claiming the three of us as his pets, his brothers and sisters were trying to nick my shoe laces
This weekend I attended an event called “The Questival” at Regent’s University. This event is a one day event hosted by Trevor Silvester for Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapists (and other hypnotherapists) to give us a chance to get together, add to our learning, and be inspired.
Trevor usually speaks on a subject and there are guest speakers.
I was very excited this year. I miss going down to London for my course. I miss the connection and learning new and interesting stuff.
I sat in Regent’s park with my latte for an hour just chilling and chatting to the wildlife – like this little fellow who seemed determined to have my latte! I could understand if it was a hazelnut latter but it wasn’t.
It’s a great place to ground yourself.
As I await a decision on the court case from the CPS I am in a fairly reflective mood too.
There, on the bench, I remembered the weekends of my training. They often came after a session with Trevor where my mind was a tumultuous mess as I tried to make sense of changes. I remember one particular conversation as I walked through the park with Trevor where he told me that one day, I would look back on what had happened to me and be able to see what I’d learnt from it.
I scoffed at the thought at the time. As I shut down into the blackness of my head Trevor distracted me by pointing out a heron. It seemed such a crazy idea.
But he was right. Of course. He so often is.
Now, it is true that I can reflect on what I’ve learned. I reflect on how it brought me to this point – to where I am now. I now do what I love. I have a life I love. And as I see more and more clients, I am able to use my experiences to help them. Not to empathise with them – but to guide them to the other side of their problem in the most effective way.
Because of what happened to me, I can do this.
And that means I did learn something from what happened and I can reflect back without needing to go into that dark place.
On Saturday, as I stepped into the room that was so familiar from 10 weekends of training, I felt the familiar knot in my stomach.
“I don’t belong here” a voice in my head said.
“I am different” it said.
“I can’t cope with this” it said “I am screwed up”
“That’s not true” I answered. And I let the thoughts go.
It is no longer true that I am different. What is now true is that we are all different and that’s what makes us interesting.
(Picture by Chloe Ridgway)
I looked around at people in a new light.
For the first time I could see other people’s insecurities and I felt comfortable whether I was stood on my own or in a crowd.
I caught up with old friends and made new ones. When people commented that they recognised me from my posts on our discussion forum I smiled and took it as a compliment rather than feeling the need to apologise.
I was comfortable just being me.
I learnt so much from that day. From the talks and from being the me I am now.
And then Dave Cornthwaite came on to talk
He talked about how he gave up the rat race at 25 to break a record by skateboarding across Australia. He talked about doing 25 1000km journeys on non-motorised transport.
He talked about freedom. He talked about saying yes. He talked about living without limitations. You can find his Facebook page here. He’s worth following.
It inspired many to question what they do day in day out and if they are happy with it. It inspired people to travel. He talked about having a bucket list and doing it.
I loved his talk. It was entertaining and wonderful to share in his passion and experience.
It didn’t inspire me.
I don’t need inspiring.
I don’t have a bucket list because if I want to do something I do it. I don’t need permission. I don’t need to let go of limitations.
Anyone who knows me knows, if I have an idea, I do it. I don’t wait. I act.
And I dream big. I often imagine an interview with Oprah or Ellen these days. My book will be on bookshelves within months. I expect it to be big. I expect to be doing talks worldwide.
I dream big. I act big. I act.
So my life is heading exactly where I want it to go and I couldn’t be happier.
That’s what I learnt this weekend, more than anything else.
I am doing what I love and loving what I do.
Get used to this because you will be seeing it everywhere soon!
Coming to bookshops and online retailers over the next couple of months (so excited!)
You can find out more, including the latest updates, at www.thecavemanrulesofsurvival.com