1: Mum…can I tell you something?
It was a Sunday morning like any other. Ruby woke me up, after spending yet another night in my bed. She was saying “Mum…can I tell you something”, “Mum” being a three syllable word as usual! She must have said it a couple of times before I eventually responded. With my eyes half opened, I said, somewhat sarcastically, “of course you can darling”. Little did I know that the words she said next would change our lives forever.
“Mum…I don’t like it when Leon licks my vagina”.
Leon, was our day care mum, Jen’s husband. In my introductory post, “The Calm before the storm”, I spoke about these two people being our “support base” during that busy time of early year’s parenting.
My baby girl had just turned five. She was the most vivacious, entertaining and bubbly little thing. She was the kid that all the other kids wanted to play with and the one that seemingly cruised through life, without a care in the world. Yet, with those ten words, I learned that my little girl was so much stronger than I ever realised.
What unfolded after that disclosure saw us enter what we now refer to as our parallel universe. Whilst everything looked the same from the outside, our life had, “jumped track”, so to speak. What we discovered was that not only had our youngest daughter endured horrific experiences, so had our eight year old, Kate. Our 10 year old Grace, to this day, still won’t talk about what she endured, only revealing enough for us to know she was not untouched.
What happened immediately following, looking back, feels like an out of body experience.
I’m a mandatory reporter because of my job and I went on auto pilot for the next six hours of the worst day of my life. My training took over and my husband and I discussed that there were certain things that we had to do to ensure that we were getting the correct story from our children. We knew that it was important to keep them somewhat separated so that we got an un-contaminated “truth” from each of them. So that’s how we proceeded to get information from them over the first hour of our new life…and it was devastating.
After Ruby told her dad what she had told me, I went to Kate. She was still asleep and the vision of her in her bed that morning I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I saw the moment her relative peace was shattered as soon as I said to her “Ruby has told me something that’s made me worried”. Her whole demeanour changed, it was almost as if she shrunk herself, and I knew then without words, that Ruby wasn’t the only victim.
Our eldest daughter, Grace, was awake at this point and knew that something significant was going on. I asked her questions in a similar manner to the younger two girls and she didn’t appear to have knowledge of what I was talking about. Though we should have felt relief, my husband I both suspected that this was probably not going to remain the case.
Brad and I discussed how we were going to proceed and he reluctantly agreed with me that I was going to confront Jen about the things that the girls had disclosed. I invited her around for coffee and Brad took the girls to the park.
Whilst I waited for her to come, I wrote down everything that the girls had told me that morning. I knew that it was important to keep a record of events as soon as possible. This proved to be invaluable as we continued through the process that followed.
I also spent this time collecting anything in our house that Jen had lent to me so that there was no reason for me to have to see her again if things went the way that I expected them to. By the time she arrived, I had- called my work and told them that I would be unavailable for the next few days, called the principal of my kids’ school and asked her to come around to our home that afternoon and I had a decent amount of Jen’s possessions sitting in a pile. Looking back, I think that I was running on pure adrenaline.
Brad sent me a message saying that he and the girls were at the park and to call him when I could. Then the doorbell rang.