Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse … they did. On Monday afternoon, I was sexually assaulted. I am still in a state of shock and wasn’t even able to contact the police until this morning. I don’t know where yesterday went – I’ve sort of lost a day somewhere. It keeps trying to sink into my brain, but something in me is desperately fighting it off. I’m feeling a thousand and more emotions all at once and desperately want to get out from inside my head. The reason that I am writing this, not because I wish to draw attention to myself but because my mind is not capable of dealing with all this without my skull exploding into microscopic particles, and my brain cells self-combusting irretrievably if I do not express myself.
It was approximately 2.30 pm when my window-cleaner called. He had been doing this monthly for at least twenty years, and he had always been a friendly man. He was called Bob, and I’d talked with him many a time over the period where my children were growing up and some of the many years when my mental health was bad. I’d always make him a cup of tea, and we’d chat, and then he went on to his next customer
When I became more physically challenged, I was no longer able to make him a drink so he’d come in with my permission to make his own tea. No problem there. He was amicable enough, and we talked about our offspring and lately he’d been talking to me about his young grandson, He proudly showed me photos of himself with his family and this little toddler.
This Monday, it was different. I’d let him in to make his tea, which he did, making me a coffee at the same time. He sat opposite my wheelchair, and we started chatting. He was complimentary about how well I coped and how I was always cheerful, no matter what. (I would almost pride myself at hiding my true feelings from people other than my family and close friends, and even with them, I’m excellent at glossing over the surface of what seem to be insurmountable problems).
Out of the blue, he suddenly lurched forwards, grabbed me and hurled me to the ground. I didn’t stand a chance of defending myself partly because of my disability, and I think, probably also because I was so shocked that I didn’t even scream. It was like watching myself in a slow-motion horror movie. As he assaulted me, I was as terrified as I had been on those numerous occasions that I had been the subject of child sexual abuse. After what seemed like forever, he was disturbed by my phone ringing. This interruption startled him enough into leaving me alone and completely stunned, and he rapidly headed out of the front door.
After that and yesterday? I don’t know where that time went or what I did. It was when I woke up this morning that I realised the enormity and horror of what I’d experienced. I felt muddled, confused and could hardly believe what had happened. I telephoned the police non-emergency number as if, I think, to kid myself that it was no big deal or was of no importance. When somebody finally answered my call, I found myself blurting everything out including how I was so caught up in the horrors of my son and daughter’s lives currently. It was all too overwhelming as I tried to explain myself, going over everything in fast-forward time. The police asked me for the precise details of the event, but I couldn’t be specific. I told them, crying and sobbing, what I had remembered. They reassured me that I’d taken the correct course of action by phoning them. They said, ‘could I get a friend or neighbour to come and sit with me’. I said there was only my next-door neighbour who was near enough but that she had gone out earlier so they just asked if I was able to phone my family and that a police officer would call to let me know what would happen next.
Well, here I am on Thursday morning. The assault happened on Monday, and I rang the police first thing yesterday morning. I waited for their phone call all day. Nothing – absolutely nothing. And today, so far, still nothing – no follow-up telephone call, no visit. I’m reluctant to phone them again because it is of course so trivial and no cause for concern in their eyes.
Yes, I am angry and upset but it seems plain that I’m making mountains out of molehills; that it is of no importance; that perhaps it’s my fault for letting him in. I hadn’t screamed; I hadn’t shouted; I didn’t even try to push him away; I had it coming, and it’ll teach me a lesson for the future.
My world is presently a dark, black hole in the ground and I am at the very bottom of it without a ladder. I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this space.
No – I don’t feel ‘sorry’ for myself; I don’t want pity; I’m just feeling so furious, vulnerable and very, very alone.