My children’s father is a cunning emotional and psychological abuser who engages in parent alienation strategies. This is complicated by the fact that he works at the school my children attend and holds a position of power. My options for support for the children have consistently been thwarted.
I feel I struggle to express myself clearly and truthfully with school. If they knew the extent of my pain and anxiety I wonder whether it would make a difference to them? I don’t trust school not to go to my ex-husband (their employee) and tell him what I’ve said.
To run to my abuser, filling him with ammunition that plays right into his hands. That’s a genuine worry.
Perhaps it’s safer to stay quiet, I think. But safer for whom? It doesn’t sit right to bury the truth and it won’t help my children.
My daughter is becoming clearer all the time and recollecting memories of things that have happened that her father and step mother thought that she would be too young to remember. But my daughter is a clever little girl with a clear memory and more heart and soul in her little finger than that pair of abusers have in their entire bodies.
She sounded like a much older version of herself last night when she started telling me things – things that were new to me, but that added detail to abusive lies that have been relayed in the past. What she said stacked up completely and she told me with open eyes and a look that was a mix of sadness and outrage for her younger self. She is only 7.5 years old now.
Her outpouring was a revelation. The settings, the details, she can remember and tell me how certain stories unfolded. Stories that have hitherto been lies made up by her abusive father and step mother. She’s starting to understand and process it all. It’s taken her over 2 years to be find the words – I feel lucky that she chose me to confide in.
But would she ever be courageous or trusting enough to tell anyone else? I really don’t know and I have to balance whether social services prevention services and their horrendous box ticking nonsense and procedures would hinder the process. And their inability to listen to me when I asked them not to interview the children at school but on neutral territory. School can never be neutral owing to the fact that my children’s father, our abuser, works there and holds a senior position. He is also odd, domineering and has a veneer of surface calm that belies a raging angry depth. What no adult is prepared to admit is that they’d rather visit Hell than stand up to him.
They’d rather leave a woman and 2 children to suffer his ongoing traumatic abuses than do anything, because it’s easier for them.
My God. Telling her the truth, being vulnerable, trying to express myself when I was traumatised. Showing her that I love her completely and always. Praying, because I didn’t know what else to do. Perhaps those strategies of mine were working, I dared to hope last night.
If people at school knew the full truth and were able to accept my words as truth and to come from that perspective, then I am sure they’d behave differently. But it’s convenient to them to sit on the fence. It means they don’t have to ACTUALLY DO anything.
But when it comes to abuse, if you sit on the fence and don’t do anything, isn’t that abuse in itself?
Allowing abuse to happen is a form of re-abuse and of neglect towards the victim.
But would they ACT differently? And that I really don’t know.
I was recently going through my annual safeguarding training for one of the providers I train for. It was so traumatic to read about what SHOULD happen when I know full well from bitter personal experience what DOESN’T happen, that I actually couldn’t complete the training. I became totally re-traumatised, at the thought of all the joined up thinking that doesn’t occur. All the signs that no one is willing to spot or heed. All the non-action taken. All the years of abuse, continuing. Why? Because he can get away with it.
I know deeply that the very people intended to protect my children either cannot or will not. I don’t know why we are not important enough to be listened to sensitively or carefully. I don’t know why no one cares when I say that there are times I’ve considered running out in the road, wishing this pain inside to stop.
The safeguarding training. A monotone woman saying gently,
“Lessons learnt from Victoria Climbie and Baby P”.
What? Lessons learnt? CHILDREN DIED for goodness sake. I’ll tell you what the main lesson is because this truly is what it boils down to – SOMEONE DID NOT DO WHAT THEIR GUT INSTINCT TOLD THEM THEY SHOULD DO.
That is the only lesson to be learnt by any of us: Take action before it’s too late. And children died. Because people do die from abuse, from all forms of abuse, no matter how seemingly small.
And I don’t know who will ever take action for me and my children. I really don’t know.
My ex-husband is an abuser and he has got away with it, consistently, over a period of years. We carry on suffering.