The Sexual Assault Service (SAS). There is one, I hope that most of the people reading this didn’t even know that.
For us it was located at the Community Health Centre. The same place that we took our kids as babies to Mother’s Group, the Child and Maternal Health Nurse, the Paediatric Physiotherapist, the Audiologist and Speech Pathologist. A place that over our ten years of parenting, we had become very familiar with. And, we didn’t know that SAS even existed.
I can’t really describe the feeling that we had walking into the waiting room that first day and letting the receptionist know that we had an appointment with Liz and Bridie. The beautiful woman, though she tried, couldn’t hide the pity on her face. She knew why we were there.
Enter Liz and Bridie.
What struck me most about both of these ladies was that they were at different stages in their careers, Liz being more “experienced” and Bridie being fairly green and a recent uni grad, however, they both exuded confidence; empathy, over pity; and a real desire to know what we hoped to get out of counselling for our girls. I think they sensed that a priority for us was that our girls were reaffirmed regularly that they were strong and brave and safe. There was a lot of work to restore their mindset, most particularly Kate’s, from the damage that had been done not just physically, but psychologically at Leon’s hands.
I think that having both Brad and I involved in this journey with the girls from Day 1 was an unusual occurrence for this service. From the time of the initial disclosure’s until now, Brad has shown nothing but steadfast support to his girls, despite the overwhelming grief and unjustified guilt that have been present. We were both resolute about the importance of counselling for the kids and it was occasionally a family affair. We developed a special bond with these amazing women.
I will speak more about the role of SAS over our journey in more depth later on.