About 6 months ago, I got a call. A call that no parent wants to receive, a call that sent shivers down my spine, that made me start to shake like a leaf and cry uncontrollably, a call that made me feel absolutely helpless. The call came from a person I never expected to call me and be on speaking terms with. It came from my ex’s new girlfriend. The only interaction I ever had with her was when she called me a slut and a tramp in front of my daughter.
She made the call out of concern for my daughter and I could tell that it wasn’t fake, she was devastated on the phone, apologizing profusely for whatever she had ever said to me or whatever position she had ever put me into. She begged me not to take my daughter to see her father again. You see, her own little girl and 2 other girls aged between 10 and 17 years old had just accused him of touching them inappropriately. The police was looking into it and he had gone missing since the accusations came out, but not before being beaten to a pulp by one of the girls’ fathers.
The police got in contact with me and confirmed that there had been accusations made and that they had no reason not to believe the girls, especially since he voluntarily went to the police station and admitted to doing it to 2 of the girls. They had to let him go because there had been no complaint yet made at the time. The 3 girls have been interviewed by the police, attended counselling sessions, attended the abuse unit at the hospital, have been scrutinized by psychiatrists etc and the police have told me that they believe them. He still denies having done anything to his girlfriend’s daughter. She says that it had been going on for a while and not just the once unlike the other 2 girls. Assuming she is lying, can a 10 year old keep up a lie in front of the police, hospital staff, psychiatrists, counsellors etc for more than 3 months? I don’t think so, eventually, they crack. And she hasn’t.
Some time later, I received a call from his own father confirming once more the whole story. I have had various conversations with my daughter’s grandfather since and I refused to let her go and visit them in their own house, unsupervised because they don’t believe (from their own admittance and despite him confessing to it) that he has done anything. They blame it all on the drugs he was taking and hadn’t even considered that something could have happened to my daughter, their own granddaughter. I have offered for them to meet her somewhere else, supervised by myself but they refuse to do so. A court granted them access a good while ago but it was only really to increase the access her father was getting. They were supposed to supervise his access but never did and when overnight access was granted, it was supposed to take place in their house and they allowed him to sleep in the same bed as her and after a couple of times, they allowed him to take her to his girlfriend’s house to sleep. It turns out she was sharing a bed with the girl that accused him of abusing her.
I was and still am extremely worried about my daughter. Around the time she started going for overnight stays, she started complaining of having a ‘sore bum’. She had been constipated before and had kidney infections too, so I assumed at the time that it was one of them, although when I was questioning her, trying to find out if it was either constipation or a kidney infection, she didn’t report any of the usual symptoms, just a ‘sore bum’. She would complain about it around the time of going to bed and would sometimes cry because of it. Since it wasn’t every night and she was otherwise in great form, I just put it down to her trying to bide her time and delay bedtime. Now, I am not so sure and kick myself for dismissing it. I took her to social services to try and get her assessed. They declared that the one and only 10 minutes interview they had with her inconclusive. As if a 7 year old would open up to a complete stranger and tell them that her father had abused her. God knows what he threatened her with if it did happen. He had told one of the other girls that he would kill her baby sister and chop her up in little pieces and kill her mum too if she ever spoke about it. Social Services told me that maybe she wasn’t ready to talk or that nothing had happened. So I am living with this hanging over my head, thinking that in a year’s time, 2 years time or 10 years time, she will come out and tell me that yes it did happen. One thing is that she could have easily put it at the back of her mind, all but forgotten about it, knowing that she is safe here with us and nothing like that happens to her when she is with us.
In the meantime, I am still refusing access, despite the court orders. I know that I am disregarding the law and that I could end up in prison for protecting my daughter but it’s something I am willing to do. I took legal advice and was told to keep offering supervised, outside the house access. I have the option to bring them all back to court, but my experience with the courts has not been a good one and has never gone in my favour so I am extremely wary of doing so. Especially since no charges have yet been put forward and we don’t know yet if this whole thing is going to go to trial. And also the fact that they lie to the courts, through their teeth to get what they want. They accused me of taking drugs, being an alcoholic, being a bad mother, all in a bid to get their own way. They don’t have my daughter’s welfare at heart and don’t listen to her, despite her being nasty to them, not listening to them and getting up to all kinds of mischief whenever she is with them. Thankfully, they don’t know where we live and can’t really do anything about the whole situation if they don’t have an address for me. We are not in hiding. We still go on living our own lives and for the past 6 months, since she hasn’t gone there, she has been a lot better, a lot more settled, she has gained in confidence and is a lot better in herself. But I still have this whole thing hanging over my head, thinking that any day, I am going to get a letter from them, another court order and that she will be forced to go on those visits again and that I might end up in jail. We haven’t heard from them for the past 3 months now, but we don’t know if it is that they finally got the message or if they are plotting something. One day, I will have to explain it all to her. How do you tell your child that her father was accused (and who knows might be convicted) of such atrocious things?
I really feel for those poor 3 girls and their families, for his ex girlfriend who brought him into her house and trusted him with her girls. All I want is for my daughter to be safe and never to have anything to do with him again. And I hope and pray that nothing happened to her. Am I doing the right thing, in just avoiding going back to court, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right, I have never liked breaking the law, certainly not risking going to prison, but I can see the effect it has on my daughter and she is better for not having to go up. What would you do?