Last week I got a letter where I work. It was a normal looking letter, nothing suspicious. Except. It had my maiden name on it which was weird but I still sometimes get junk mail like that. I opened it and read it. I was horrified. It was from a prior abuser who claims he’s dying and wants me to forgive him so he can go to heaven. I’m at work, what do I do? Where can I hide? I want this to go away immediately. I crumple it up and throw it away. It means nothing to me I tell myself, it’s a joke right? Right?
Let me explain.
I was abused by my elementary school music teacher. My first memories are around 2nd grade but I think it started sooner. Anyway, this man abused me severely and I was terrified of him. He’s dead and I’m still afraid of him. The abuse when on until I was almost 10 and then it suddenly stopped. I had all sorts of feelings about that but that’s for another post. Anyway, I started to see him again and he would take me from school and bring me to a place. I don’t remember how I got there or where it is but I went there about a dozen times with 5 different men that I remember. I now know I was part of a pedophile ring. There are pictures of me posted on child porn sites that will never come down.
Anyway, one of the men had sex with me and with the music teacher. In the letter sent, that event was mentioned as well as an time when it was just him and I. I don’t remember the second time he mentioned. It really bothers me that I don’t remember. How he could so casually write it down in black and white and my mind is blank. A man who took a 10 year old and did one of the most intimate thing 2 people can do to each other and I can’t remember.
I think it’s an easy thing for these men to do. Just so casually violate me as a child and now as an adult at my workplace which is supposed to be safe. I don’t know what to do with this letter. I eventually took it out of the garbage and made a copy to bring to my therapist. I shoved the letter in the back of my desk hoping it would magically disappear. My therapist said it’s my decision but absolutely thinks I should bring it to the police. My husband thinks we should bring it to the police. His therapist thinks I should bring it to the police.
But it’s not that easy.
I think most people with trauma will understand the terror and confusion I’m feeling. I have no desire to start an investigation at this point in my life. In all honesty, I’m barely surviving. I think about death a lot and am fragile. I don’t think I could handle having to tell my story to the police. If it’s true what this man wrote, that he’s sick and dying, what difference would it make? I don’t think there would be enough justice in this world to make me feel better. And the process just feels like it would be devastating. What if they don’t believe me? What if they think it’s my fault? But I feel the pressure of the people I rely on to be my support to ‘do the right thing’. How can they tell me what the right thing is? I don’t know what it is and I lived through the trauma.
I should think about this but I am tired. My brain hurts. I am tired of having to be strong. I feel like a coward for not wanting to turn in this letter but I don’t. I just don’t. I have no illusions that either choice is easy. No matter which way I go, it’s going to hurt like hell.