35. More Revelations…
It was nearly a year After, that Ruby rendered me speechless…again.
We were having a shower- I almost feel guilty admitting that I had a shower with my 5 year old- something I never considered before After. While we were in there, she told me that she had a sore vagina. Ruby suffers incontinence now and unfortunately “wetting” still remains an issue, so getting rashes has been part of her reality. We talked about the importance of keeping your body clean and she said, “No one else can touch your private parts can they mum?”
I said, “No, you are in charge of your private parts Ruby. No one else can touch them unless you want them too”.
She said, “What if someone asks you to touch their’s and you don’t want to?”
My spidey senses went into overdrive. I said, “You don’t have to touch them if you don’t want to.”
“Would I get in trouble from the police if I did touch someone’s privates?” She asked.
I said, “No. Especially if you didn’t want to do it.”
I know that many of you are probably experiencing your own spidey senses right now. Pay attention to that feeling- it’s important.
Ruby then went on to recount to me how Leon sometimes made her touch his private parts. I asked her to clarify. She said that he would touch her with his penis and make her touch it too. I won’t go into any more details here, they are too horrific, and again, turned our world inside out. It further confirmed that this man was a despicable human being and my baby girl really is a superhero.
The important take away from this conversation is that, even now, the girls will recount an experience they had with Leon that was different to the ones that we originally spoke to the police about. I believe that this is a pattern that will continue for their life. In the two and a half years before the trial, they would tell us different things at different times. It wasn’t a change to their story, but an addition, or another episode of it. I was chatting with the Detective one day and asked, “When do we stop?” I didn’t know whether it was important that I recount all of their memories to him or would we just be content with what we knew at the beginning?
At night time, it was the worst. It makes perfect sense in theory. During the day, we were all trying to live this “new normal” that we had created for ourselves. At night, when the girls were trying to rest their minds, they would ask me, “Can I tell you something?” And I’d listen and pretend that my heart wasn’t breaking just a little more.
During the trial, the Defence Barrister questioned me as to why I didn’t write down all of the accounts that the girls gave me if I was having to, “Listen to them all the time, as you say”.
I told him, somewhat flippantly, that I’d be writing forever if that was the case. He accused me of exaggerating. In a sense he was right, I wouldn’t be writing forever. But, I do believe that I’ll be forever listening to the different things that this man did to my daughters and I will forever remember them. Some things you can’t forget, you can’t unhear.
A few minutes later in the trial, the Defence Barrister detailed an account that Ruby had given the police about an incident that had happened. He asked why I hadn’t written that down if Ruby, “Told you everything, all the time?”
I don’t know how I kept it together, I think that I was physically shaking when I asked, “He did what?”
The Barrister said, “Clearly your girls don’t tell you everything as you claim.” It was like he had won- it was bizarre. He’d just told me another abhorrent thing that Ruby had disclosed during this process and he seemed smug about the fact she hadn’t yet told me of this experience.
I responded, “Maybe not, but what you’ve just proved is that any time this man had an opportunity to perform a sexual act on my daughters, he did it”.
The Judge then explained to me that it wasn’t my place to make such a comment. I apologised and reminded him that I’d never done this before- being key witness to a supermarket theft in Year 10 Mock Trial shouldn’t count- but, I think that I got my point across.
I am certain, that, over the years, the girls will reveal more about what Leon did to them. There are many arguments around repressed memories and trauma amnesia that exist. For me, I believe that the girls remember everything, but they process things in stages. Stages of development, stages of grief, stages of understanding, stages of acceptance.
There are triggers that bring their memories to life. We are currently in the middle of the biggest trigger to date, with his release from prison. There have been many heartbreaking conversations had in the last couple of months.
It is ignorant to think that they will ever forget what has been done to them. We just continue to work with them so that they begin to accept that it wasn’t their fault and that they are inspiring.