It seems a shame to sully my new look, cheerful blog page with what i need to write about. But, hey, this is real life and it has its ups (which i like), and its downs (which i don’t like) but both states are real and genuine and we feel them both intensely.
My husband (now ex) left me for another woman because i couldn’t satisfy him in bed. Given that i’d been through years of childhood sexual abuse, this was hardly surprising. He didn’t even try to understand why i had problems when it came to sexuality.
He left me with two small children; a boy, ‘Tom’, aged six and a girl, ‘Clare’, aged two, (my little darlings) who i loved more than anything else in the world. He saw them every Wednesday evening for a couple of hours and Saturday mornings till lunchtime.
Tom and Clare got on well and played with the Lego together, building houses and such; putting jigsaws pieces in the right (or sometimes, wrong) place. Hide and seek was a favourite. Clare didn’t quite get the hang of that and always hid in the wardrobe and we always pretended to be surprised when we found her! They were halcyon days.
As they grew, like all children, they started to squabble over this and that and silly things, here and there. Tom was at school (just) and Clare just coming up to playgroup days.They were both happy little souls. I was happy too, working part-time to bring some extra income in and finding myself free to be who i wanted to be; do what i wanted to do, without the constraints put on me by my ex.
Time flew by. Years vanished, it seemed. Then, Tom, at eleven started picking on Clare, then seven, which soon turned to bullying which i nipped in the bud, or at least, i thought i had, but behind closed doors…… And then Tom started taking things like pocket money, CDs etc from Clare’s room. I sat Tom down and asked him why he was behaving like this and got a “dunno!” as a reply. He’d get grounded. It continued, so i started locking Clare’s bedroom door during the day to stop him from going in there. It didn’t seem right though, having to lock my young child’s room during the day while she was at school and during holiday times when she was playing in the back garden with her best friend. (There was no keyhole so i resorted to using a small padlock and short chain fastened round the door handle and then to a hook in the wall). It didn’t seem right somehow and i didn’t like doing it. All i needed then was a big sign stuck on Clare’s door saying ‘No Entry’!
Clare started to become withdrawn (not the happy little girl she once was). She started gaining weight at the age of about nine. She seemed secretive. She’d sneak in from primary school, which was at the end of our road, next to the shops, with her small pink, ‘Piglet’ rucksack, give me a kiss, hello and disappear into her room which i’d unlocked for her as Tom was safely outside, playing football with his mates (as he called them). Always ‘mates’, ‘friends’ was too ‘sissy’ according to his thirteen years of age.
So, life continued….Clare went up to the Comprehensive School at eleven, where Tom already was, he, by then a growing teenager. Clare’s grades began to fall and she gained more weight. I sat with her over and over and asked if she was being bullied at school or whether anyone was hurting her, ( and painfully, also asking if daddy was upsetting her, dreading a repeat of my own abusive childhood). She always said , “no” and that she was ok but i sensed something was wrong. I talked to her teacher (she seemed quite happy at school despite struggling to keep up with the others, in maths and history).
Then, the day i will never, ever forget, came. I was at work. My phone rang. It was the school. “Could i go up there straight away?”. I fired questions back, worried sick. “We just want to talk to you about Jenny”, they said calmly. My mind went in panic mode as i told my boss that i had to go urgently ‘something to do with the children’.
I literally ran to the school. I was directed to the Headmistress’s office and there sat Clare in floods of tears, with her best friend, also crying, and Clare’s Form Teacher. My eyes darted around the room,looking at all the solemn faces. I begged to know what was wrong. Then came the words i never wanted or dreamed of hearing…..” Clare has told her teacher that Tom had been sexually abusing her and even raping her“. One look at Clare told me this was, and to my horror, had to be true. I broke down, flashbacks fighting for room in my head, I ran over to Clare and hugged her tightly, never wanting to let her go. My little girl, my baby, had been subjected to the same torment i went through as a child! My mind fought it and fought it until i had to accept it. I asked where Tom was. They didn’t know; he’d bunked off that day, unbeknown to me. CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, INCEST! The words kept repeating in my head.
Clare was then twelve and Tom, sixteen. The Police and a Social Worker were called. It was all happening in slow motion….surely, this wasn’t real. Oh,my God, this was real! The Social Worker said Clare couldn’t come home as she might not be safe in case Tom came back.They took her away; they took my baby away! They said i was to go home and when Tom came home, simply and somehow calmly, tell him that Clare had gone to a friend’s house for a sleep-over. The Police were coming in the morning and they didn’t want me to tell him because he’d run off to God knows where. I don’t know how i did it, how i got through the evening, automatic pilot, cooking Tom’s tea and kissing him goodnight. Those hours were so hard. I wanted to break down and sob and never stop but i had to remain calm as ‘the plan’ unveiled itself.
Sure enough, the next morning, the Police arrived taking Tom by surprise. His face flushed as he stared at me. I couldn’t look my own son in the face. I averted my gaze. They told Tom that they knew what he had done. Strangely and surprisingly, he didn’t deny it. They wanted to question him at the Police Station. I phoned my ex. “Please get over here, and urgently; something awful has happened”. He came over immediately and said he would go with Tom. They took him away with his dad in a police car. I thought this has got to be a nightmare; i’ll wake up in a minute and everything will be ok. My son, my firstborn was driven away; my babies gone.
I was left alone in a state of shock. Three hours later, the phone rang. A male voice said, “Tom has got to go to his father’s house and not back home with me, Clare was to be taken to foster-parents for her own safety….could i pack a suitcase for her? I stood in her room,looking around; tears streaming down my face. ‘How do i pack my child’s life into a suitcase?’. I went through the motions and somehow did as i was instructed. A woman came to the house; she showed me an identity badge and said she’d come to collect Clare’s suitcase. I handed it over, my heart fell to my boots. She drove off. I was alone. Suddenly, i was alone. One minute, i had a family, the next minute they’d gone. My little darlings had been taken away from me as if i were the guilty party. My little darlings disappeared from my life. I was numb. I stopped crying. I calmly went about my chores; washing the dishes from Tom’s tea. The house was silent. I passed out. The next thing i remember was waking up in hospital. They kept me in for observation because i was again so distressed. They decided to send me to the local Psychiatric Hospital (for my own safety, they said). This had to be a nightmare!, surely. It wasn’t. They never came home, either of them. My family had been ended, abruptly.
(I apologize if i have made any spelling or grammatical mistakes but i can’t bear to read it again to check through it – it’s too painful).
I’ve never written about this before. My hands are shaking,my palms sweating, my heart beating like it’s going to jump out of my chest. But i am numb on the outside.
My carer will be here in five minutes. She’s here. I smile. Everything ok? Sure, i say!