Monday, 13 May 2013

not a victim : twelve people

{Please be aware that this post, although not explicit, may contain triggers ~ please take care of yourself}

My statement went to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), along with my doctors notes which I was told later had "?abuse" in the margins at numerous points, including the appointment when my mother asked that I be put on the (contraceptive) pill when I was eleven, claiming I had unmanageable PMS.  The statements made by my father, mother and brother (two years older than me) were submitted too ~ don't know what they said, though I could hazard a guess.

The CPS decided to prosecute.  My father was charged with multiple counts of rape, attempted rape, gross indecency and indecent assault.

* * * * *

The trial, in the summer of 2000, lasted for five days.  Although I was an adult, I had been offered a screen, so I didn't have to see him ~ I felt like a wimp for accepting it, as though I was trying to hide, as though I was still scared of him, after all that time. My mother and brother both gave evidence on his behalf, and he took the stand himself.  Their position was that I was . . . actually, I'm not sure exactly what they were trying to label me as.  Mentally ill perhaps, an easy target, with almost ten years of eating disorders and a couple of suicide attempts behind me.

* * * * *

* * * * *

I was sat in a cafe in Chichester on the Friday ~ they were doing the closing statements first, then the judge would be instructing the jury before they went off to discuss it, so we didn't know if the decision would come back that day, or if it would all drag on through to the following week.  Suddenly Jane rushed in, eyes shining, and crouched down at the end of the bench seat I was sat on ~ 'Lucas, are you ready'?  I nodded, assuming there had been some kind of hold up, so we were to drive back to Crawley, but Jane smiled as she quickly realised I hadn't understood.

'Fifteen years ~ he got fifteen years'

I blinked a couple of times, then swallowed.  The social worker hugged my foster carer, as everything around me went kind of foggy and bitty, with colours and shapes beginning to blend into one another like a painting by Monet, and a noise like a train started building inside my head.  I blinked again, as Jane looked at me and smiled. 'What?' I asked, still struggling to understand the elation around me, convinced I had to be reading something into the situation that was simply not there.

'They found him guilty ~ guilty of everything.  He's going to prison, Lucas ~ you did it.  They found him guilty of every charge'.

* * * * *

* * * * *

The jury had deliberated for less than an hour.  He was sentenced to fifteen years and twelve years, running concurrently (at the same time), and would be on the Sex Offender's Register for life.

Twelve people, ordinary people, listened.

Twelve people watched her cry.

Twelve people heard him say how much he loved me, how hurt he was, how confused he was by my lies.

Twelve people.

Twelve people who have probably forgotten pretty much everything about it by now, who will most likely never know how much impact their decision that day made.

Twelve people.

Thank you, twelve people.

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