A year on from my second sexual violent assault, robbery and destruction of my flat. I am still questioning, what is justice? What would I want that to look like? The police not only did not act in my best interest, but I still feel they treated my case differently as they saw and assumed a different set of rules. Applied to two queer men. In fact, despite taking a full statement, they went back to the police station and wrote: “Chai-Yoel had a friend over, the friend would not leave and so the police were called”.
If you ask some of my close acquaintance’s, justice would be a chemical castration to the perpetrator. I try every day to offer him some compassion in my prayers, I think the least the police could have done was get them some mental health or psychological support. The police have a duty to keep us both safe, and my attacker is obviously quite unwell. They also failed to keep my wider community safe, as he is still out there, and I very much doubt he hasn’t done this before and continues to offend. He now knows he can just get away with it.
The CID person told me towards the end of the investigation, “The perpetrator, accepts no criminal responsibility”. On bad or down days when I think back, this sentence drives me crazy. What criminal accepts full responsibility for their actions? Surely if they did, there would be no need to be an investigation, and no one would need to go to court in the first place? My case did not get as far as justice. Besides what justice is there for dissolving someone’s trust and their view of the world? For the rest of my life something has been taken from me. I am slowly taking that power back and getting healing. Writing helps me do that and not suppressing feelings help too. The unconditional love, support and congruence from those close to me will be the cure.
A year on, I am continuing in recovery and gaining excellent support from Survivors UK and my therapist. I have managed to end the silence on earlier trauma that came to the foreground whilst working on the sexual assault. I have had the confidence to finally break my childhood 35-year old secret. This is a challenge for me and all my family. I don’t need to go through it alone anymore, as I feel I have been going through things alone for too long. You see once a trusted adult told me that the world out there was dangerous and so I should never tell anyone I was queer. I was only eleven or twelve years old at the time, so I became very good at not telling the people I love what was really going on in my life. There is still much more processing to do: rebuilding my relationship with trust, developing better boundaries and learning I no longer need to compartmentalise aspects of my life.
Thinking back: I was brought up to be kind to others. To always say please and thank-you. To not make a fuss. I was taught about the green cross code, taught not to get into a stranger’s car and not to accept sweets from strangers. Everyone, of the older generation in my Jewish community was called Aunt and Uncle, even if they weren’t family and sometimes, they felt they had the right to tell me off. Grange Hill taught us to Just Say No to at the time to heroine and Michelle on EastEnders was the first teenage mother I knew, having had her daughter with Dirty Den, how this happened was only alluded to as it was before watershed. My sister taught me about orgasms, and I winced when she described to me in full graphic detail about how babies were made and where they came out from. Jewish Studies taught me about Adam and Eve. At school in Personal Health Social Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) I got taught Life skills that did not include something as basic as consent or respecting your body. Sex education was about a flower being pollinated through a very 1970s education video. Inclusive PSHE and SRE contains these elements taught in an age appropriate manner and does not rely on parents or carers teaching their kids these important elements. Inclusive PSHE and SRE teaches about different types of sexualities, relationships and families, as we know the long-term medical health, mental health and suicidality risks if we don’t.
Please don’t judge, I had a nice upbringing, I know I am privileged in many ways, and I have family and friends that love me. In the moment when we are feeling low or life feels hopeless, we can let go of hope! People will say: “You are a psychotherapist; how did that happen to you?” I am also only another human being and the attacker saw their way through my vulnerabilities and succeeded to manipulate their way in by doing so took advantage of them.
My gender dysphoria is partly my vulnerability. Despite hating the word “grooming”, it is clear as crystal that is what he did now. Sending me photos, telling me how hot I was, how he could settle down with me and that he didn’t give a fuck about my trans/ non-binary identity. All words and the validation I needed.
I wish I could write that justice does happen and for some people it will. I do believe in what goes around is comes back at you. The most important lesson I have learnt is that I am cared about and loved. I also need to love myself, forgive myself, as much I would tell clients that a lot of therapy is about accepting and learning who we truly are. I am getting there; we and life is always a work in progress, none of us can be one hundred percent perfect. My family and friends are there with me. Nobody should have to go through these events alone. For now, I have the intimacy of family and friends around me. Sending kindness into the world and breathing in compassion.