Those are the words our family doctor used to describe what my mum reported to her. My mum went to her for help because she’d just discovered her 16 year old son had been sexually abusing her 11 year old daughter. She and my dad asked me a lot of impossibly difficult questions before going to the doctor, I can remember it. I remember struggling through terror and tears, but answering them truthfully.
So I don’t know why the GP noted it like this.
This is not accurate. The ‘no penetration’ part astounds me. There is no reference to the extent of what happened. It totally bypasses the horror I went through and the repeated, escalating nature of his attacks.
Even worse, it makes it sound like the whole thing was mutual. Like I was joining in willingly. Which hits a nerve because that’s what the police reports said too; ‘Laura willingly participated’.
I didn’t scream for help because I was scared of my parents finding out. Does that make me ‘willing’? When I told him no, but he carried on, maybe I seemed willing because I was too frozen in panic to stop him. When I tried to escape him and he knelt on me and tore off my clothes was I willing?
No. At no point was this anything close to mutual.
Fuck those doctors, social workers, police officers – and my parents of course. Them too. Fuck them all for refusing to have some fucking compassion and to actually see the truth that was staring them in the face. A frightened child who was terrorised, molested and violently attacked in her home. Her place of safety.
In their eyes he was only my brother. He wasn’t a paedophile, a rapist, a criminal. He was old enough to vote, to be seen as a man in society, but in this matter he was for some reason just a child. We were merely siblings experimenting. They all wanted to believe that because he was my brother, he couldn’t have meant to do me any harm.
Bullshit. He manipulated and groomed me. He threatened me. He knew exactly what he was doing and that it was totally wrong.
When I received a copy of my full medical history yesterday, I had a feeling something like this would be in the file. But among the hundreds of pages of notes, I had assumed that the abuse that completely destroyed my childhood and changed my life forever would get more than this brief mention.
It’s brought back all of my feelings of worthlessness, shame and responsibility. Reading this has reminded me of the myriad of ways in which I was ignored and let down. The opportunities that family, friends and professionals would’ve had to intervene, to check on me, to step up and protect me. There must have been so many. But none of them helped.
They all failed me. And I can’t honestly say why. The natural conclusion for me is to plunge straight back into thinking I wasn’t worth helping. I didn’t deserve it. There was something wrong with me. That’s less painful than hating my family and easier than raging against the incompetence of a network of faceless and probably long retired strangers.
Image: Sheila Tostes, Creative Commons.