You know what, I am just going to write about what’s been happening that has caused me so much stress. No one has said that I can’t discuss it and I’m sick of carrying it around and being careful not to mention anything. And again, I cannot be silenced.
So, I started by blog when I was back in NZ after my brief time in the UK (18 Months) because S got ‘the job’ that was going to ‘make’ him. Yep, heard that before. I was pregnant with our son and I really didn’t need that upheaval, when I had a good circle of friends and a good OB here. But he was adamant, we were all going. It was going to be good for us.
We were given two weeks to pack our lives and move out of the house, the house I’d loved overlooking the ocean. Where friends had congregated for BBQs, and where the children went to school just down the road. We had, like most accumulated so much stuff, alas, most of it became charity or tip fodder. The whole thing felt like a nightmare. I anticipated any second that S would change his mind. Why would I want to return to the UK??
Back in the UK, we’d miss a Kiwi summer, and were in an English winter. I can’t tell you how depressing, back to back winters are. S was in the job straight away, so pregnant and leaving my kids with my parents, I trawled rental properties with an agent. I was pregnant, tired and sick and eager to build a nest for my children. I had no help, my parents bordered useless. They were never good with the kids and as a wife/mother, it was obvious that I could juggle all the balls in the air, still look good and not complain. We were temporarily in an apartment, a 2 bedroom apartment which was hellish with three small children, so S arranged for us to move into a four bedroom apartment near St Paul’s Cathedral. The area was lovely, and perhaps in holiday mode, I could have enjoyed the history and architecture and atmosphere and I have done previously in London.
But not just a house, I needed to find an OB and hospital too. This meant many taxi trips and appointments, squeezing the odd scan in where I could to make sure my baby was OK with all this stress.
I found a house, a lovely big home a short walk from shops, off the M25 so easy drive into London city (not incl traffic!) and a fast train into London.
Our furniture was continuously delayed, so we had small pieces of rental furniture. That were neither homely nor barely functional. But we got through it. Despite morning sickness and tiredness and swollen ankles, I organised a school for the kids and started to make this town our home.
I could never shake my regret at not filing charges against the man who had attacked me all those years ago. And I felt more vulnerable than ever.
I hired a PI initially, I had to KNOW my enemy, and then I decided to press charges.
S worked long hours in the bank. I felt I barely had any support. My parents of course delighting that I should be a bankers wife and concentrate on being a Stepford wife.
The whole thing was a horrible, long never-ending nightmare. But that is a different story.
As I lived in a county away from where it happened, I pressed charges through the local constabulary and then they in turn communicated with the constabulary of the area where the attack occurred.
communication breakdowns, different people on shift, new people, disorganisation and the general disregard you’d expect for a hisotric case were all part of a journey that lead to multiple psychiatric treatments, in-house care, medications, etc. I also managed to parent three kids, give birth to my fourth, and manage my life back in Blighty. Of what life I had. The resentment that I had towards S slowly bubbled unde the surface. Maybe this signalled the start of our breakdown.
Anyway, there was a ‘Specially Trained Officer’ in the local police office that always treated me with such compassion and kindness. We had a lot in common, and he was great company, funny and attractive. He always had time for me, he never saw me as victim, he always helped by giving me legal advice and I feel supported me through the whole process. Even in times of panic and upset, I could get hold of him. We text each other often and after a while, people started to think our communication was probably too much. But I didn’t care, here was a man who understood my pain, but could make me laugh and be there to mop up the tears. I’m not sure how the line was crossed, there is no clear moment, no recollection of comment misread, or a ‘moment’ but somehow we became flirtatious. There was an attraction between us. He was married as well, but he told me unhappily and keen to leave. We bonded over so many commonalities, and he made me feel like a desirable woman. Not a mother, nor wife, nor struggling mental health patient. A woman with desires, smart, funny and tender too.
In essence he represented to me everything my husband was not. He listened, he advised, he held me, he spoke to me for hours. He was there.
Anyway, he knew ultimately I would return to NZ and he knew that I loved my husband. But I genuinely believed that there was something special, a connection.
I’m not going to justify this, it was wrong.
Fast forward, maybe three or so years later. I’m in NZ. He texts occasionally. Chatty, upbeat messages, but I keep my tone civil but wary. I am focused on my family and my marriage and I’m home. Then he tells me that there was some sort of protest and he and some other cops got involved, things got a bit gnarly and there’s been a complaint about him. He wonders, if asked, if I might be a reference for him.
I don’t think that a good idea at all, and say as much. I asked some friends in the UK and they tell me about a protest that occurred, so I know that much to be true.
He asks a few more times, implies things are heating up. I answer the same. I haven’t been in the UK for ages, it would be strange and frankly I don’t know the charges or what happened.
Then I receive a letter, from his office, an official letter, asking for information about an investigation into an officer during years that women made were pressing charges for sexual assault related crimes. Of course, it was during the year that I had made my complaint (about the offender).
I thought it an odd request. I ignored it. I wanted no part of it. I did query though, with him, why this letter? He claims that someone is suggesting he was inappropriate, but its all lies and it’s a witch hunt. Of course, I believe this because initially it seemed to be about a protest.
Gradually as time wears on, his communication comes in spurts. Mostly asking for a references, sometimes just random, vague messages. Once telling me he was quitting the force, felt suicidal. It all seemed surreal. I didn’t reply because I didn’t understand.
Gradually I started to wonder if maybe he had done something. Overstepped a mark with someone, and if so, I had effectively set the benchmark. As my affection was mutual, could he have interpreted that to mean that it was OK to make moves on victims? I felt horrendously guilty. Had I started a behaviour? A year went by, and I carried the weight of my guilt. What had I done? What had he done?
So I called and obtained the name of the investigating officer. I spoke to her. I had to know what was going on, and why. Hoping it was something minor, something casual, a witch hunt. The investigation was still on going. And I learnt that he had been inappropriate with 10 women in total (that they knew of). All survivors of sexual assault, all with some sort of mental health issues. I felt my heart go to stone. Immediately I explained it WAS MY FAULT, I had been equally attracted and so he must have thought that paved the way to be with other people. I also asked why this started off the back of a protest. It had nothing to do with a protest. It was a woman, making a complaint about his conduct. I was noted in the communication through emails. They expected I had become involved but without talking to me, they didn’t know the extent of the communication. I had to know – was it my fault? What had I done?
I thought back to when I saw him, always on duty, always in a police car (unmarked), it added to the appearance of a professional meeting. Yes, somethings had seemed or said that seemed inappropriate, but he was a man and we were friends now, so it didn’t matter did it?
Frankly the whole thing is confusing. He’s apparently claiming to be very unwell (mentally) but the argument is whether that caused his behaviour or whether he’s simply using it as an excuse. I guess that’s internal politics because I don’t know why a resignation wouldn’t be accepted.
I mentioned that his marriage was broken and it had been a difficult year for him – yeah well, apparently that’s not true either.
In fact, I am not really the wiser as to what is true and what isn’t anymore. Maybe I wasn’t so special? Was he attracted to damaged goods? Did I really know him at all? Could these women be wrong? Was it wrong that he spent so much time with me? I thought he genuinely liked me. Or was I a challenge? Was this a game?
I mentioned to the woman who I kept my phones, I always keep my cell phones, unless I upgrade. I have a phone and handbag addiction. I’m not even sure why it tumbled so forthcoming from my mouth. Even at the time, she didn’t seem interested. I guess I pictured that Blackberry in my draw, that had been my lifeline. So many messages communicated. Such an integral time in my life. Later she asked for me to send it back. But the thing has been long since reset. I might keep my phones, but I don’t keep my data. She wanted things I’d told her to be written down and for me to sign. A formality with record keeping. That made sense.
Little did I know, its been a few weeks of complete hassle. Emails come with statements – formal looking, I’ve had to go to the library and sign and scan. NZ Police got involved to get the phone. I have felt scared. I have felt further violated. And frankly I would like to speak to the person in question and ask all these questions, did I mean anything to you? Whats a lie? Whats the truth? Is this all one big mistake?
I’m reminded of the reason we met in the first place, and that adds to the seediness of it all. I feel dirty and crappy all over again. I’m scared. I feel used, but I feel so stupid.
I want to believe he’s the nicest cop I’ve met, that helped me through a traumatic time. The alternative cannot be right.
So, this is why my life has taken an unusual and upsetting turn. I probably shouldnt have called the UK police, but I had to know the truth. Although I don’t feel much closer to it.
Again, I’m shouldering this alone. But I have made an appointment with my therapist to discuss this. I need to talk, and to think about it. I need to find where to allocate my blame. I need to consider what this means and what I’ve done wrong here.