Tuesday, March 11, 2014

random logging of stuff

Just trying to collate some links and things to do with my continuing thoughts about the abuse stuff.


British False memory Syndrome
Bob Wolfendale



this man


Sunday, March 02, 2014

On why I still haven't reported the historical sexual abuse

So. I wrote before about how I had been abused by a (now dead) family friend as a child and how I was going to report it to the police because I felt like I have a responsibility to the other women who did report it only to see him cleared of all charges. I want to speak up because if it ss recorded somewhere officially then perhaps it will help somehow in the future, perhaps people will believe those women who came forward.

Trouble is I still haven't made that call. Main reason being, as I said before, that I will have to tell a complete stranger something I was oly recently able to put downon paper and I am worried they won't believe me.

There are so man reasons why I am holding back.

Will people think I am making it up?
Will the fact that I am not a complete wreck mean that people won''t believe me?
Will anything be done?

And now there's an added complication in that I noticed this person has been mentioned in a daily mail report on the recent PIE / civil liberty debacle.  Do the daily mail have a reason to mention his name? Are they aware of his reputation or have they got more dirt to publish? If I 'come out' now am I just going to be viewed as coming out of the woodwork with a made up story for fame or money? 

Could I end up beng targeted by the Daily Mail?

Scary thought.

Reading through all the old reports from the time of the trial I can see statements from victims who almost unanimously were too afraid to tell their parents because they felt they wouldn't be believed, particularly as they were making accusations against a solicitor who was well respected. These women only came forward in later life because they had been encouraged by other people who had. In fact the only reason this solicitor was questioned in the first place was because a mother reported him to the police after he approached her asking to take her daughter out on a trip.  It was after this was reported that people started to come forwards and he faced two different trials as a result.

After he was cleared he spoke up about 'false memory' syndrome and about how those who were accused of sexual crimes should have their identities protected. Interesting, that an abuser would be so keen for false memory syndrome to be exaggerated and that he should wish other abusers to be given anonymity. After all, that would certainly put a stop to other victims feeling brave enough to come forward.

The whole thing stinks.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

I am telling the truth about my abuser, as were the other girls who were not believed.

I had yet another conversation with a (male) workmate today about the naming of people accused of rape, This was the result of the 'Not Guilty' verdict in the recent case against the actor William Roach. My workmate was very vocal about the fact that those accused of rape should not have their names in the press. I pointed out that lots of other people accused of different crimes have their names published in the press, so why should those accused of sexual crimes be singled out and NOT have their names put out there? He, my workmate, said that he thought the idea that it would encourage other victims to come forward was stupid and that lots of people come forward to make false accusations for various reasons including money. I pointed out that false claims were really very rare and that it took a lot for rape cases to reach a court. My workmate thinks it's ridiculous that people wait years to come forward and that if they do then it's basically too late and they should have come forward at the time.


I want to put my story down in black and white to give an example of why I think it is important that rape and abuse victims feel safe and confident about coming forward years after the abuse took place. Why the release of an abuser's name really can help other people who were afraid to speak up, those who thought they might be disbelieved, or who thought that it was just too long ago to make a difference.

At Christmas my sister and I took a day off work, left our children in childcare/with their dad, and went out for a whole day of shopping, lunching and fun. We even did a bit of ice skating. As the evening drew in and on the way back to the train station we stopped off in a cafe for a piece of cake and cup of tea and my sister said 'Do you have any memories about I*** G*****'? As she said it I felt a mixture of feelings flow through my body... fear, adrenalin, release... was I really going to have to talk about this?

I*** G***** was taken to court charged with 10 counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency against girls aged 6 - 10 over a 21 year period. I*** G***** was a prominent Solicitor who was involved in the Birmingham Six case and was a friend of my father's; I*** G***** was found not guilty on all counts.

I have no doubt at all that he was guilty and the reason is this.

 I remember an incident in the late 1970s where, during an outing with Mr G***** and his wife, I was taken to the toilet by this prominent solicitor (alone - though I was quite old enough - 8/9 - to go to the toilet on my own and to tell him when I needed to go to the toilet and in this case I had told him I didn't need to go but he insisted on taking me) and he attempted to put his hands inside my knickers, in fact he succeeded in putting his hands inside my knickers.

There we are... I have said it. For so many years I had not spoken these words to anyone, I did not ever write them down. I did not ever think that there would be any circumstances in which I would tell another person until my sister said 'Do you have any memories about Ivan G*****' and then I realised that she knew too.

What my sister can remember is that the G****** had offered to take me, my older sister and my younger brother to a theatre production of Pinoccio at the Felin Fach theatre near where we lived in West Wales. I do not remember any of these specifics, I just remember where we lived and that we had gone to a theatre - what to see or where I did not remember until my sister filled in the gaps. Apparently this was his modus operandi, befriend  families from deprived backgrounds with young children and act as a kindly grandfather figure. On this night my parents were in the bar while he and his wife took us to the performance. My sister remembers that he all of a sudden, during the performance, said I probably needed to go to the toilet. My sister attempted to interject, asking if I needed to go and telling him that I could let him know myself if I wanted to go. He insisted that I must need to and off we went. I remember being in a corridor, I remember curtains, I remember the confusion I felt about why he was taking me to the toilet when I didn't want to go and the uncertainty I felt about what he was doing when he put his fingers into my underwear. I remember there was another time, probably after this incident, where he offered to take me to the toilet on another outing in the presence of my parents and I very firmly refused. I remember that I stopped looking at him as a very kindly old family friend and very much didn't want to be alone with him.

In recent years I started using the internet to research various things and people from my past and at some point I came across reports about I*** G***** and what he had been accused of. By now he was a very elderly gentleman and as time went buy I once again put it to the back of my mind. Coincidentally both me and my sister were doing the same thing, by now G***** had died and he was celebrated in Obituaries as a man involved with justice, truth and most famously the trial and release of the Birmingham Six. When my sister asked me that question I realised that I still feel very angry about what happened and my anger grew worse as I realised how other young girls, who had come forward as adults, had been disbelieved.

All of the above is why I think it is important that those accused of sexual assault are named, why I think it helps other victims come forward and why I don't think victims who come forward many years later are doing it for fame or money or kicks.

Incidentally - after the conversation with my sister I emailed the West Midlands police and asked what I should do. Could I still report an assault once the person had died? My main motivation being that I want those other women to be believed, I don't think Ivan G***** should go to the grave with people thinking that he was blameless. The response from West midlands police was very friendly and told me to call the non emergency number and tell them the details. This was back in December 2013 and I am still plucking up the courage to do it, mainly because I question if they will actually believe me and I very anxious about having to give details like those I wrote about above to a stranger on the phone who, given some of the cases you read about, probably won't believe me anyway.

I suppose my workmate might want me to forget it happened, he is dead anyway.

I think it's also important to note that this incident was the second time in my life that I was a victim of sexual abuse or attempted abuse, a year or so earlier an older child had taken me away from my house, friends and family and attempted to abuse me in a barn. It was only because my dad came looking for me that he stopped. I didn't tell my dad. I was about 7 or 8. Isn't awful that by the age of 10 I had already faced this kind of thing twice! 

More on those who weren't believed

Similarities are striking but this doesn't mean I am bandwagon jumping.

Further reading:

Linconshire Police  recorded a third of Rape reports as 'no crime'.
Essex police officer charged with failing to properly investigate a rape claim.
Wrong Questions asked of victims.
Rape investigations 'undermined by belief that false accusations are rife'

Friday, January 17, 2014

Short reviews of Oscar nominated films #1

Dallas Buyers Club.

True story with some factual inaccuracies and made-up people.
Matthew McConaughey finally gets a role with some teeth, and dramatic weight-loss which may win him an Oscar. To be honest he would deserve it for the acting rather than the body modification. Jared Leto's character is one of the made-up ones, largely unsympathetic though beautiful to watch; not convinced by the acting though (Leto's). It's a film chock full of unsympathetic characters. Worthy? yes. Entertaining? Not so sure. Interesting? yes.

Jennifer Garner ...  I just can't work her out. Is she a good actress? She is the actress called on when you need a worried face, a really worried face.

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Make-up.

Friday, January 10, 2014

'What's on your mind?'... Adventures in 'giving up' Facebook

So a little after midnight on January 1st 2014 I disabled my Facebook account. That is - I temporarily closed it down. Apparently there is a way to delete it completely but naturally I am not quite ready to do so and the truth is that not only have I signed back in twice since (late at night when no one can see me - sshhh) but I have also been using another Facebook account to check messages from my sister and two best friends... and a work colleague... and a friend from my old account who found me and asked me to be my friend on my new account. Excuse me while I scream... THERE IS NO ESCAPE! (< untrue, if I am stupid enough to have a secondary account...)

It was the plethora of 2013/2014 status updates that tipped me over the edge and sealed the 'I am coming off Facebook' deal for me. They started at some mid-morning point of 31st December 2013 and ranged from the 'fuck you 2013, good riddance' to 'what a wonderful year you were, here's to the next one'. The thing was, I had been composing my end of year Facebook status update for many days and was primed to sign off and shut down my account with a perfectly worded status which hit all the right '2013 I hate you' notes while managing to offer a '2014 you will sparkle and shine because I am going to be so much a better person' kind of vibe. Pfffft. Here were people not even bothering to wait until the actual real new year to post their crap, Don't they know how to use Facebook?

I had other more serious reasons for deleting my account, primarily that I wanted to rediscover what life feels like when you don't know what other people are thinking and doing and secondarily because disabling it was the only way I knew to stop myself over-sharing. I am not the kind of person who can open a box of chocolates and just have one, so if I kept my Facebook open with the intention of not sharing then I just knew it was a non-starter. I was right. The first couple of days was unbelievably difficult and it was definitely the right thing to delete the app from my mobile phone because when I woke up on 1st January the very first thing I did was grab my mobile phone and go to take a look at what everyone else was thinking; only I couldn't, so I didn't and it was weird. It was weird that every time I did something or thought something my first reaction was to compose a status update in my head. It was weird that when I took a photograph on my phone my first thought was to upload it to Facebook. It was weird that I missed knowing what people were doing and saying and thinking.

It certainly got me thinking about how on earth I managed to get to this point, along with hundreds of thousands (Millions?) of other people for whom Facebook is as vital as thinking and breathing and living. How did I get to the point where I have to share how I felt about 2013 with hundreds of other people, some of whom I don't even like? How did I end up feeling like those hundreds of people should even care what I thought about the terrible choice of programming on the TV post-Christmas, the noise my neighbour was making, the lovely bath I just had, the lovely meal I just made, what I think about my dentist, my husband's snoring, the cretinous article in the Daily Mail about breastfeeding or the hundreds of other status updates I composed in my head but couldn't post? 24 hours later I was starting to worry that this internal dialogue of potential Facebook updates would never stop. So I started doing things...

I made my own thank you cards (thank you Pinterest), I de-cluttered my shelves and recycled all my Christmas cards, took down the last of the Christmas decorations, sorted the toddler's clothes drawers, Counselled my sister (By text), watched some films, read a book... READ A BOOK! I actually read a book, not an article someone linked to on Facebook but an actual book. It was rather good but then ... I got ill. Or rather my son got ill and I followed, which meant a couple of days lying about at home with nothing to do but post furious replies to stupid questions on Mumsnet or watch daytime TV. How badly I wanted my old Facebook account back. My secondary account was boring with only four friends and none of my usual groups and pages to peruse. So I started doing things...We made a gingerbread house, went to the park and flew a kite, took some long overdue items back to the library and visited the allotment for the first time in many months! I took a funny video of the gingerbread house falling down, at the allotment I took several pictures of my son, my carrots, my weeds... Instead of thinking 'I'll put that on Facebook' I started thinking 'If I had a Facebook I would put that on, perhaps I will put it on Tumblr instead. On one day I sent 11 photographs to my husband at work, what else was I going to do with them?

Still - it was a step in the right direction. I had stopped obsessively composing status updates in my brain - everything was hunky dory. Then I came back to work. 'Your mum put something on Facebook for you' said my work colleague. 'Did you see that thing on Facebook?' said another. So I rather reluctantly signed back in just so I could read what ever it was my mum wanted me to see. Really, had I had any willpower, I could have picked up the phone and asked my mum what it was, got her to send me a photograph of the cushion cover she is making for me... but no, I logged in and made the mistake of reading a few ramblings from my friends and family. Within seconds I could feel my blood boiling and after a few minutes I was already proclaiming 'oh FFS how stupid' over someone's post about vaccines. So I disabled it again until last night when I logged in one more time to check that I wasn't missing anything. I wasn't.

I still want to give up Facebook, I still want to know what life is like when no one knows your business and every one else's business is a surprise. I toy with the idea of re-opening my Facebook account just to read and receive messages but not to post anything about myself but there have been so many times when I have been bitter and sniffy about other people who use it in such a voyeuristic way plus I really don't think I have that kind of will-power. It's only been ten days, surely I can at least make a month or two? I miss having somewhere to put photographs and I miss other people commenting on them. I miss seeing other people's photographs and I miss having things to talk about. Some of the best conversations happen on Facebook, it is such a great way to swap ideas, share articles and seek opinion. Sadly it is also one of the best ways to have fights, fall out and piss people off. I know there are people out there who have never had a Facebook account, others who have had one but never got sucked into it or who just gave it up and never looked back. I want to be one of those people. I want to know how long it will take before I am one of those people. Really I should just get rid of it completely and forget it... no secondary account, no secret logging in, no more Facebook occupying valuable head-space and stopping me from getting things done.

I will try another ten days... see how that goes. Make more effort to communicate with other people in different ways, ignore the many ways that people try to get you back on and keep reading, gardening, getting stuff done but, fuck me it's actually quite difficult you know. Still - I haven't written a status update nor uploaded a photograph in 2014. In my old life I would have updated my status anything between 5 and 15 times and bombarded people with cute photos of my son so that's progress, no?

I previously wrote about Turning off Facebook and listed some reasons why I should.