4: “It’s not like we sit around watching porn!!!”

The rest of the day went by in a bit of a blur. I was questioned about that relentlessly during the trial by the defence barrister. He couldn’t fathom how my memory of the morning was so clear, yet my recollection of the afternoon’s events were fuzzy. My only answer for that is that in the morning I was reacting on instinct- an instinct that I have been trained to rely on in my work, hence why I began recording the events immediately. By the time my kids arrived home from the park…I was a grieving mother.

By 2pm that afternoon, a teacher from the girls’ school, Leanne, had arrived. It was again instinct that drove me to call her in the first place, with a little self-preservation built in. I knew that if my children disclosed to her, what they had to me, that as a mandatory reporter, she would have to make the call to the authorities. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine having to make that call. When she called, I sat next to her, stunned. She explained the situation to them and then they asked her where we were located so that they could send out the first responders.

When the police showed up on our doorstep, it was like stepping into an alternate reality. By this time in the day, it’s fair to say that my husband and I were shell-shocked.

As I recounted what my daughter’s had told me that day, I remember looking up at the police and saying, “she couldn’t know about that unless it was happening to her, it’s not like we sit around watching porn”.

I look back now and it probably seems wildly inappropriate, but at that time, I was looking for any way that this could have been a mistake, that Ruby got it wrong, however unrealistic that was, because the alternative was breaking my heart.

grieving dadI looked up at the police after thinking out loud, bumbling through the day’s events and trying to make sense of everything, to see one wiping a tear from his eye. It made me realise that the only real probability in this scenario was that it did happen. All of a sudden, I was seeing things in a new light and realising that there were so many clues that we missed- hindsight is 20/20. When I vocalised this, the other police officer reminded me that we weren’t meant to see it. This man didn’t want us to see it, so we didn’t. That he was the worst kind of bully.

My husband had to leave the room and sat outside the front of our house with tears rolling down his face. As the police left, one of them said “I’m really sorry Brad, I wish that this didn’t happen to you”. It was only then that we realised that Brad had played football with him for a few years. In our despair, we didn’t even recognise him.

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