Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chapter 4, Dharma

"Always we hope someone else has the answer. Some other place will be better, some other time it will turn out. This is it. No other place will be better, and it has already turned out."


Chapter 4


One morning, a week or two after the remembering, I was in a particularly agitated state after a long and sleepless night. It was early and I'd been in my yoga studio tentatively practicing viparita karani, known to be one of the most restorative asanas, in an attempt to ease the state of intense anxiety I was in.

I love yoga, yet found myself afraid of doing it. Every time a pose took me to pain in my body, especially that sore place beneath my shoulder blades, my anxiety would intensify, making it had for me to breathe. I was afraid that yoga would trigger another shell shock like episode, and that was pissing me off, making me angry. Those two had robbed me of so much and at that moment it felt as though they'd even stolen yoga from me. I don't know how many times I got up off my mat, walked to the kitchen, picked up the phone, started to dial, only to hang up and head back to my mat.

Finally I just dialed, the phone rang and my father answered. I could tell I woke him up. I identified myself and said "I just want you to know that I know what you did. I know what you did to me when I was a baby. I know what you did to me when I was a kid. I know". He never said a word, no denial, no admission. After a moment I hung up.

Then I dialed the number of the other male relative. I got his answering machine and couldn't have been happier. I didn't care who heard the message. I said basically the same thing, "I know what you did to me when I was a little girl and I just want you to know that I know". He called me back to tell me that I was "sick". Thank God I was seeing a psychologist at the time. When I told her what he'd said she just nodded and told me that they all say that.

If I'd been experiencing fear before, now I was scared shitless. They knew that I knew. Although my logical mind told me that my fear was irrational, only cowards prey on children, I was terrified that they, but the male relative in particular, would try to kill me. My psychologist reassured me that my feelings, my fears, were compleyely normal and part of the reliving process, reliving the fear I'd experienced as a child. She assured me that it would pass in time and it did, it has.

My father is a pedophile. I don't know how he's got away with what he's done and is most likely still doing. I know, and know of a small army of his victims. I've decided, to keep the identity of my other abuser to myself, for now. I've asked the relatives who will talk to me about this. No one else in my family seems to have had any incident with this man.

I came across information at the Health Canada website stating that "A population survey done for the Badgley Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children, found that almost one third of suspected or know child sex offenders were under the age of twenty-one. That nationally, nearly one quarter of all sexual offences are perpetrated by adolescent males". If I was five at the time of the assault, he would have been seventeen or eighteen. Perhaps he never again attempted to rape anyone after me. He may have thought he killed me when I lost consciousness, maybe it scared him. It doesn't make it right. I would dearly love to shout his name from the rooftop. But I have no evidence and no one else with a similar experience and do not want the stress of that creep filing a law suit against me so for now, I hold my tongue.

In June 2005 I went to the police and filed statements against both men. It was hard but I reccommend going through the process. I was taken seriously and treated with respect, compassion and professionalism. It was a bit of a fiasco at first. I'd been talking with one of my brothers and his stories really fueled my rage. As brutal as our father had been with me, it had been far worse for the boys. My brothers body carries physical evidence of the abuse he suffered as a child, in the form of rectal scarring. I had him convinced that he and I should go to the police. It was tough for him, one of our siblings was dead set against it and putting pressure on us both.

I picked him up one evening after work and we headed to the nearest police station. We explained our situation and the constable informed us that the detachment would be closing in fifteen minutes and that wouldn't be enough time to take our statements. So we went to the twenty-four hour station where we found one lone constable on duty, and he didn't know what to do with us. He was kind and tried to be discreet, making phone calls from behind a thin partition, in his attempts to get some kind of direction. Meanwhile a long lineup was forming behind us. I felt for the officer, he really tried to do something better for us than advise that we come back in the morning, but in the end that was all he could do. My brother changed his mind. The whole exercise had been a waste of time.

A couple weeks later, after another sleepless night, I got up at five a.m. and drove to my local R.C.M.P. detachement. My brother lived in the city so we'd gone to the city police. I lived in the country so my protocol was to go to the R.C.M.P. I'd already written my statement and after a short interview it was decided that video and audio statements would be taken as well. It wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done, I was extremely emotional. But I was so much lighter when we finished, like a burden had been lifted. A burden had been lifted. The file was forwarded to the city, ironically, to the sex crimes unit. A detective contacted me and reiterated what I already knew, I had no evidence and the chances of laying charges were slim to none, but that would not stop them from investigating. He reported back to me that the male relative responded to questioning with righteous indignation and informed the detective that I was crazy and sick. My father said one thing only to the detective "talk to my lawyer".

Had the police required me to lay charges I would have done so without hesitation, but that wasn't my motivation. I wanted the police to have on record the names of my abusers so that if anyone else should come forward, their stories would be corroborated.