It was a Wednesday night 7pm, we had just told our three daughters that they could no longer see their grandfather as he posed a risk to them.
An hour had passed since their sadness at the news. We were ready to put them to bed, to tuck them up and say goodnight. We brushed their teeth together my husband and I and I tucked our youngest daughter the 5 year old, Emily into her bed , kissed her said goodnight and left the room to say good night to my oldest daughter who’s 10, Layla, in the room next door. When I was in there a few minutes had passed and my husband shouted out to me that our youngest daughter, Emily wanted to see me again. I felt frustrated. I left to go back to her after I had already said goodnight.
She lay there looking up at me her blue eyes wide and staring intently. She said “He’s been touching me , grandad has been touching me..”. She was referring to my father, her grandfather.
The horror of her words had struck me like blow to the head with an blunt object. I looked down at her and said “what did you say?” she repeated her words and they raced through my ears forcing my adrenaline to kick in. I was horrified, as a mother they are the words you never want to ever hear from your child, a five year old.
No one had prepared me for this moment in life, as a mother. I knew every thing form here on would be different now, nothing would ever be the same for me and for my child.
I was stunned and struggled to choke up my words . She started sobbing , threw he tiny head in my lap and gripped my shirt with both fists. I grabbed her face pulled her upwards to look me in the eye and said ” it is not your fault, you did nothing wrong, do you hear me Emily you did nothing wrong.” I forced my words out again amidst my building rage and said ” you are so brave , the bravest girl I know thank you for telling mommy.”
I then said ” did this happen a few times or a lot Emily?” She answered with “a lot.” It felt my blood curdle in my veins, my hands balled into tight fits at her words.
After a few minutes I stood up said I would be back and turned to walk down the passage. I needed to find him, Michael my husband, where was he. As I walked I could feel the shock building in my chest, like a tight vice of two firm hands holding my throat, my airways now closing. My legs began to weaken and I felt violently ill, like I was going to vomit. As I got to the door way of my middle daughters bedroom, Ella, she called me in. I walked to her bedside she looked up at me and poured the words out ” I heard what Emily said to you, and its been happening to me too.”
I repeated the same words I had just before said to Emily and ran down the passage to find him.
He was in the kitchen, oblivious to my terror.
I looked into his eyes and waited to find that second where I knew my words would come, I opened my mouth , my jaw wide, yet no sound escaped.
He starred at me , looking deep into my eyes and said “what”. I knew my flesh was pale, I knew I was in shock already, it was too late for me. And here I was looking back at my soul mate , my husband the father to our three daughters, about to dispel the most horrific information, that was going to launch him into shock, into my current state, mixed with a hurricane of his rage.
I didn’t hear myself say the words, my ears were now ostracized from the rest of my body, still processing her little 5 year old words. I know they came fast, unrelenting to achieve their outcome, I could see by his eyes as the pupils now reached full dilation and his brow contorted inwards. He had heard my horror.
We were now broken parents together. He was fixated on my face, sought clarification of my words as if not believing them.
“What, did you say they were abused?”, “by him?”.
I couldn’t propel any more sentences from my cold lips now, my brain was in a state of full traumatic shock, I knew now because I began to shake. My entire body was enveloped with uncontrollable jolting.
I needed to sit but I was paralysed in the kitchen, standing in front of my now broken man.
He started yelling in a frenzied way, at no one, at the house, at the walls , at the floors at this place at him even though he was not here.
My father had done this , my own father had sexually assaulted the people most precious to me in my life, the little girls I had made, the little daughters God gave me. He had ruined their lives, taken their innocence and smashed it into obliteration.
Here I was now, their mother standing with their father , Michael left with nothing but horror.
Michael looked into my tortured eyes and said ”I am calling the police”.
My mind raced, trying to process pieces of this recent history, these last few days, weeks and month. I was clutching at any thing my distorted mind could hurl at me….
how long had the abuse taken place with them?
where were they when it happened?
who was there in the room at that time?,
My own mother, Rebecka was there, because she always said she was, she swore she would never leave them alone with him, but she did obviously, unless she has played a part in this perverse Crime.
Why didn’t she tell us if she knew, why didn’t she tell us if she was concerned so we could have taken appropriate action to protect our babies.
Did my parents collaborate, was this an act of child abuse they were both a part of?
Why had she called 6 days prior begging me, hysterically urging me not to go to the police, when I knew nothing of the girls abuse.
Ella, came running down the passage towards me, she was hysterical. Fear had now consumed her tiny body, she was screaming and looking out the dark windows into the night. I grabbed her tiny frame in my arms and carried her to the couch, put both my hands around her jaw and looked into her bright blue reddened eyes. I said to her ” he is not coming here do you hear me Ella, he is not coming to this house, you are safe, your mama and your papa are with you, God is with us, and you are safe.”
I knew at this moment with her I would fight the fight , that fear would have no place in amongst her courage of disclosure.
He came in and I placed her shaking body into his open strong arms and walked into the next room.
I began to howl, it was as if a beast within my traumatized body now needed to exist.
I knew that this was beyond my own ability to deal with as a mother as a human, that I only had one hope of surviving this horror, and I cried out, amidst howls of anger to God. My face squashed into a couch in the study, my knees grinding as I knelt on the hard floor, in this moment I knew I was a broken woman, a broken mother. I don’t know how long i screamed and howled into the night, it felt like hours had passed.
I then stood in panic at as the silence of the house struck my consciousness, where were they, where were the kids and my husband. I listened, still shaking uncontrollably, and then I felt my body lose its capacity to hold liquid in my bladder.I was standing in my own urine.
I heard them moments later in the lower part of the garden, safe and laughing. He must have taken them outside, to the swing below in the dark, because mommy had begun to howl. He had distracted them and taken them out the house. I was alone.
That night they didn’t come. The police, didn’t come out to us, instead they told us to wait until the morning and they would call us when their specialist child protection detectives came on shift at 7am. I really thought they would come to us, to help us, to be there to talk to us, we were a broken family and in crisis now.