Sometimes I'm amazed at how far I've come in the last 19 months.
Sometimes I feel like I've been through the worst of it, and I'm coming out the other side.
I made it. I'm a survivor.
And then sometimes, life hands me a reality check, and I realise that I'm nowhere close to coming out the other side. I haven't really dealt with this.
I've still got so far to go.
Sometimes I can't believe the changes in me, when I look at the person I was before the rape, and the person that I am now.
Some of the changes are pretty obvious. I'm less trusting. I'm more fearful. I have nightmares, flashbacks. I suffer from anxiety now, and can't handle huge crowds. Sometimes even small crowds are too much if I'm having a bad day.
Other changes are not so obvious. I'm angrier, inside. I'm more bitter. I'm quicker to judge people. I get annoyed faster. My patience used to be almost endless. Not anymore. I've gained a lot of weight. I eat for ... Comfort? I eat because I don't care enough to take care of myself sometimes.
Late last year, the police told me they didn't have enough to press charges.
That it was my word against his, with not much evidence to back me up.
I knew what the outcome would be when I made my statement to police to start the investigation.
I always knew they'd find it almost impossible to get enough to charge him.
But still, I went ahead.
It was never about getting him charged. It was never about having the case go before a jury.
It was about standing up and saying, "What you did was wrong. I should not have let you get away with it. I'm telling someone, and I'm making my voice heard, and maybe, just maybe that will be enough to stop you ever doing it again."
There was a part of me that wanted to cause him hell.
That wanted vengeance.
That wanted to put him through something, anything.
It was nothing compared to the nightmare I went through, but I knew they wouldn't charge him, so it was all I'd get.
And then they called me, and they said, "Sorry. We can't charge him."
And I went to pieces.
I fell apart.
I knew it was coming, I knew they'd find it incredibly difficult to get enough, but there was the tiniest part of me that kept thinking, "He did something really fucking awful. He did something so horrible, so traumatic to me that they HAVE to find a way to make him pay. They'll find something, and they'll be able to charge him. He will pay. He will pay for raping me, for making me think he was going to kill me. He will pay for turning my whole life upside down, and inside out."
But they couldn't do it. There wasn't a piece of evidence that made them go, "Aha! We can charge the prick!"
So once again, I picked myself up, and put myself back together.
I gathered my courage, and tried to move on.
I took comfort from the fact that they told me that he was ringing the police station constantly.
Trying to find out what was happening with the investigation.
Whether he would be charged.
Ringing the station, all the time.
"What's happening? Are you going to press charges?"
(Guilty conscience, anyone?)
That was my comfort. That was all I was going to get.
So I grabbed it with both hands, knowing the truth about it.
Knowing that every dog has it's day. He'll get his.
One day, he'll pay.
And I thought, that that was it.
That I had my closure, and I could move on.
I knew the outcome.
I had tried to fight, but it wasn't enough.
The regrets haunted me.
Why didn't I go forward sooner?
Why didn't I keep the evidence of the stalking, the terror that he'd put me through?
How many times could I second-guess myself?
How many times could I think the same thoughts, over and over?
How many times could I think about the same regrets, over and over?
It was done. Finished.
He was going to get away with it.
That was on me. That was my fault.
And then, last week, I had to go to court.
For something that's sort of related.
And the Magistrate.
The lovely Magistrate.
Looked me right in the eye, and asked me to stand.
So he could speak directly to me.
Because he had something important to say, you see.
He told me that he had read the entire police brief.
He read my statement.
What happened to me.
He read the interview they did with the rapist.
He read through all the statements they took to support my story.
All the investigation the police did.
The medical records.
And he had the most curious look on his face, as he told me,
"They made a mistake. I do not understand why they didn't charge him. In my view, they had enough."
He made sure he still had my full attention, and he continued,
"They had more that enough, to charge him. To take it before a court"
I wanted to ask him what he saw.
What was in that file?
What did you see, Sir? What did you see that made you feel that way?
He suggested to me that I ask my lawyer to contact the Office of Public prosecutions, and ask them to review the case.
That they can override the police decision, if they agree with him.
They can have charges laid.
So now I have to wonder ...
Is it worth reopening the wound?
Is there any point to taking a chance?
Risking the disappointment when they tell me they still don't have enough to charge him?
I had made my peace. I took their decision not to press charges, and I made my peace with it.
it was difficult.
It broke my heart, and crushed my spirit.
But then, I got up again, and kept moving.
Can I do that again?
Or, what if they agree?
What if they say, "yes, we can charge him."
"The police made an error."
Can I face a trial?
Do I have the strength?
Can I tell the world what he did to me?
Can I take the humiliation, the hurt that I know a trial will bring?
Am I strong enough?
I've already picked up the pieces so many times.
One day, I'm going to break.
And I won't be able to put myself back together.