A picture tells a thousand words.
Or often none at all… like this one for example.
The little girl in this photo is me, approximately aged -6-7, the boy is my little brother and the woman with the flower head; my beautiful mother.
We look like a regular happy family. Children’s smiles can hide an array of things.
No guessing who the ‘man’ is. And if you don’t know, his name is Robin Banks.
By this age I’d been sexually abused by him for approximately 1.5-2 years already.
After this I’d go on to endure 4 more years of sexual abuse.
Lets also not forget the emotional and physical abuse he inflicted on my little brother who like me still suffers because of what this man did to him; the beatings with the belt (buckle side) spitting in his food while my brother looked on and the duct taping to the bunk bed for hours on end while our mother was out working, the constant ridiculing and manipulation still pains him to this day.
In this photo I was a girl who was scared and ashamed.
I thought it was my fault, I thought this must be what happens to all little girls. I was too scared and too shamed to speak out.
But this shame is no longer mine, this shame is his. I didn’t do this to me, he did it, and I am no longer protecting him.
The laws protect this man from receiving any consequences. The laws do not protect me, or the children I know he still has access to.
I didn’t do this to me, he did it.
This is the man I’ve been to the police about 3 times, they have never even taken a statement from me and have just closed the case because I have no evidence.
Despite my mother and my brother seeing him in my room multiple times.
Despite the doctors visit I had because I had a sore vagina.
Despite the flashbacks and trauma I have endured.
Despite my diagnosis’s and the extensive therapy I’ve been seeking for my whole adult life for my Mental illness’s.
Despite everyone knowing and believing in me.
The law says I have to be able to prove what he did to me.
I think he needs to prove that he didn’t. All things considered.
I get it, they can’t arrest every guy who is accused of these things (2% of claims are false) but they (the detectives) haven’t even spoken to him once because “It’s your words against his, he will deny it, even though we believe you 100%”… (their words).
Of course he fucking will but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Or has already.
Or will again.
Or that everyday the actions of this man and the lack of actions by the law doesn’t cause me incredible pain and frustration.
Why are we still protecting people like this?
I am no longer scared.
I am no longer protecting his name or his face.
And I am no longer allowing society or the laws in place to silence me.
I share this not because I believe it will change anything, but I have to live with what he did to me. This man manipulated me into keeping his secret, he never asked. Now I’m older. And I don’t have to protect his secret anymore. So he’s going to have to live with this too.
I was contacted by my abusers daughter after this image went up on my Facebook page asking me to take it down, begging me to consider the backlash, that sharing his face might have on her family, on her daughter, on my niece and nephews(all primary school ages and younger, who should obviously not be spending time with them anyway). I replied with “Well, perhaps he should have considered the backlash that he would inflicted on his family when he sexually abused me for all those years.”
That is not on me.
It is never the survivors job to consider the impact that speaking up about their own abuse might have on the world around them. Survivors worlds are already tainted and tortured by these people and no amount of tantrums from those who protect them can silence us.
It is our right to speak up because we couldn’t then, but we can now.
And yes, you’re allowed to share.