This is something that winds me up the most.
When somebody does something to hurt me and they get away with it Scott-Free, that really makes my blood boil.
I was about 16 when my Family and I went to Bali. Mom and Dad put Jay and I in some “kids club” group at the Hotel we were at – The Legian Beach Hotel. I was a very young 16 year old, very sweet and innocent and probably at the emotional age of about 13. Half of me was appalled to be at the “kids” club because I was 16! I was a grown woman in my mind. Not a child. But the other half of me felt more comfortable playing games in the pool led by Children’s workers the Hotel had arranged rather than sitting “with the adults” and drinking.
Kids club it was.
One of the Hotel staff was the “Leader” of the games and we all obediently followed him about like little ducklings. We played pool games, messed about on the waterside and just mucked about as kids do. I guess I kind of liked having fun in the pool with other kids and being able to keep a close eye on my younger brother. I have always been super protective of Jay.
The main guy leading the kids club showed great interest in me. He was friendly and separated me a lot from the younger children, treating me as an equal and letting me lead games with him. He praised me a lot and I thought we were friends.
One afternoon we were playing volleyball in the pool and Akim (the leader) ushered me to the deep end while the little ones played over the net in the shallow end.
“You’re too cool for that” Akim smiled across at me.
I like to think I’m a strong swimmer but I’m actually the opposite and I was struggling to keep my head above water in the deep end.
“I uhh…I can’t really swim in deep water” I admitted.
Akim swam over to me. I thought he was going to help me to the edge of the pool so I could have something to hold onto and maybe even hopefully climb out.
…so when he forced his hands under my bathing suit and into my vagina…I didn’t know what to do. I froze. I didn’t want to upset the little kids. I didn’t want to get into trouble. I felt a powerful mixture of fear and shame.
Thankfully Jay and I were very close back then and it brought him joy and comfort to have me close. He called me over “Omg Janet – watch this! I can do such a good jump!” so I gratefully got away from Akim, adjusted my bathers and swam as quickly as I was able to the children at the shallow end of the pool.
My brother showed off a perfect cannonball and even though my entire body was trembling and tears were streaming down my eyes, I splashed water on my face to hide them and beamed a big smile at Jay, holding 2 thumbs up in approval.
“Look at you go! It’ll be the Olympics next” I encouraged, forcing my voice to remain steady despite my heart breaking from shame and fear.
Pleased under my praise, Jay beamed across at me “I can do another!” and he swam to the ladder to prepare to dive in again.
I told my parents the next day that I had a tummy ache. A friend of theirs got “Bali belly” a few days earlier so they had no trouble believing me and I was excused from kids club for the next few days.
When it was time to return to kids club, I struggled putting my bathing suit on. It seemed tainted from the sexual abuse I had experienced and just putting it on made the trauma come rushing back. I burst into horrified tears in the bathroom. I hadn’t realised but Mom had come back to the hotel room as she’d forgotten her bag. She saw me shaking and crying and demanded an explanation. I tried saying I had a headache but Mom wasn’t having it. I reluctantly told her the truth and Mom held me tight and cried with me.
Mom told me I had nothing to be ashamed of and that I had been badly taken advantage of. She told my Dad who flew off the handle and was last seen storming off towards the Reception area.
We flew home that afternoon and I didn’t tell anyone about it – not my friends, anyway. Only my parents knew.
A few weeks later, Dad had me sit with him and Mom and repeat my story. I did it with tears streaming. They both hugged me. Dad said the Hotel had sent photos of all the staff leading kids club and that I had to identify Akim by marking a large “X” on the back of his photo.
Having to look at his smiling photograph made me feel sick. With my hands shaking, I marked an “X” on the back of it and gave the stack of photographs back to Dad.
Akim got fired. I felt vindicated, supported and loved and I bounced back with happy vigour, enjoying my friendships but keeping a careful distance from boys I used to fancy/flirt with for about 2 years.
The thing with that awful experience is that my parents believed me, supported me and justice was served.
What keeps my spirits low is that life has brought on so many similar experiences but in those circumstances noone believed me and in many of those new experiences of assault, it was ME who suffered punishment.
These things cause so much pain even now. The latest being “Natalie” stealing my identity, causing me to lose a job by texting my Manager as me from “my new phone” and getting away with it in Court on a technicality that she wasn’t stalking me and had not PHYSICALLY harmed me so her behaviour could not be quantified nor punished.
That just leaves me with deep shame. A huge sense of Loss. The ache of knowing SHE DID SOMETHING AWFUL TO ME and got away with it.
I don’t know how to “bounce back” from 12 months of repeated experiences like that in the last year…as well as unexpectedly losing my Dad!!!
How do I convince an already broken girl to keep living when dying would end this torture of being so unjustly treated?
Stuart was a manager who abused me. When I complained, I GOT FIRED AND HE GOT PROTECTED AND PROMOTED.
“Amos” came into MY GYM in my personal time AFTER work and touched me inappropriately and when I got the courage to say something about it…not even ALUN believed me.
When you cry out in pain and people tell you “it’s all in your head” it robs you of decency. Of any sense of self worth.
It ends up choking the tiny spark of hope you have left.
How do I bounce back from the past few years of absolute hell?
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