Recovery: 3 Things to Remember When Making the Report
When I first started my recovery journey from childhood sexual abuse I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I only remember the abuse happened a few years ago and told one person. (It had coming rushing back to me like a nightmare I had before.) I swore I wasn’t going to tell anyone else. I believed I had healed enough by remembering and telling someone. The rest of it was seriously going to the grave! Well little did I know, I did zero recovering or healing.
I ended up in a situation where I was afraid to say no (like many other times in my life. Not that I was being hurt. But it wasn’t what I truly wanted) and it lead to getting pregnant. Which I didn’t want. Not in the situation, not right now, not with that guy. Not a lot of most of it! LOL! (If you want more on the pregnancy journey you can read it here.)
Being pregnant caused an uproar of flashbacks, haunting memories, fears, and I started to work with a spiritual shaman, Johanna Burkhardt and I was bringing a lot of my childhood up with gene keys and other types of healing. (Which you can read which type of healing you can pick with this blog and you can read about timeline therapy here.) It was a constant battle. Then my ex and I broke up and the fear of not being able to control my daughter’s environment exploded. That’s when I started therapy on a weekly basis.
I began recovering and healing with my spiritual shaman and therapist. All the healing! All the recovering! One step at a time. At one point I thought telling people I loved was hard, but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Then I thought telling my providers was hard, but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. (You can read about telling people about your abuse here. If you’re pregnant, and need a resource to help you with coping and preparing for labor check out this blog here.) Months went by and I had really gotten comfortable with telling people. (Only the people that needed to know, of course.)
Then I had meltdown in my therapist’s office: How was I going to take care of my daughter financially? I was struggling to figure everything out, and the day before I noticed my ex just bought a brand new 2500 ton 4 by 4 Chevy Silverado fully loaded truck. (Those things aren’t cheap!) and he had yet to help with any financial expenses nor had he mentioned anything of child support. I was freaking out. And going to therapy was costing my nearly extra 100 bucks a month. (That’s really nothing. I know some people dish out more. I’m very grateful that’s all it cost. But when trying to get a house and a nursery ready everything counts. That money could be used elsewhere.) My therapist mentioned a program California offers to help with victims in my same circumstances. I just had to file a police report, if I hadn’t already.
I seriously thought: No big deal! It was 24 years ago, he’s dead, this will be the easiest thing I’ve done thus far! I was wrong!!!! Totally wrong. I started to have dreams, crazy looping thoughts, I really felt like I was back to the beginning of my recovery. I was freaking out. So much so that I waited almost a week to even call. I needed to have validation of whether or not it was even okay to make the freaking report! I had to talk to my mom first. Oh yeah! It’s so easy. Way out the window.
When I finally called the one lady was very nice and lead me to call another police department because that’s where the crime took place. I called the other police department. (Mind you I had been on hold for a bit with the other police department. I was really on the verge of a meltdown. Gotta love your thoughts and ego sometimes! Playing that fear to the extreme.) I immediately got through to the other police department and the lady answered the phone, “Yes!” I said, “I would like to file a police-”. She interrupted, “Hang on!” put me on hold and I lost it. I hung up! I cried for 20 minutes. Then laid in bed. Then I was upset because I allowed that to hurt me. Then I embraced that it was triggering me. I decided it was okay. I let myself feel it out and I was going to call again the next day.
The next day I called and got through. The lady that answered the phone was so abrasive and unkind I seriously thought I was going to start crying on the phone. Eventually she told me I had to come in and make the report because I didn’t live in the area I would have to go out there. (Of course, I would. This is was what I feared the most. Telling strangers face to face I was abused as a child to that extent. And I’m just now reporting it 24 years later after the #metoo movement has brought people out the woodworks to make these kinds of reports. Awesome!)
Before I move on with the 3 things to remember about the report there is something I want to say about the women who answered the phone.
I understand people have bad days, get busy and whatever the case is. I work a corporate job. I get it. Some days you don’t want to even be there. I understand that. However, those women that answered the phone could have been the difference between a crime being reported or not. Imagine if I was a child calling and that was my only opportunity or courage I had. Imagine being a battered woman in a relationship with that window open to make the report. Approaching anyone abrasively can alter people’s lives. I just want you to think about that the next time someone calls you or you deal with a client or a customer or a person in general. You could be the difference in someone’s entire world changing for the better. Remember that.
3 Things to remember when making the report:
I finally made it down to the police station (at the end of the week) and made the report. I took my mom. If this is something you do, I urge you to bring someone that is aware and supports you. It will make things a little easier.
Trust yourself and trust the information you provide. I say this because police officers have to ask questions. When you’ve been abused and pieces are missing, it’s hard to trust yourself. Regardless of what you do and don’t remember, you must trust what you know. Trust what you provide. No matter their questions. With the questions the police officers asked, I almost stopped believing myself. I almost felt like I was lying. Like I was stupid for being there. I had to provide the information I knew. Mostly feelings and instincts because I would black out during the abuse. That’s all I had. You must trust yourself because the fear of that person not believing you will start to creep in. You have to be able to fight it, because really there isn’t any stopping the fear during that time. At least there wasn’t for me when I was in the middle of it. You just have to keep telling your story.
Remember the police officer’s job is to make the report. Nothing less nothing more. They don’t have to believe you. They don’t have to care. It’s not their job. They are there to take the information and make the report. State the facts. This is why I think it’s important to have someone there with you. They can remind you, you aren’t crazy, to trust yourself, and you’re doing the right thing. Even though your child self is probably repeating things from your past: They won’t believe you. You don’t know anything. You’ll get hurt. You’re making things worse. Your child self is trying to keep you safe. In this moment, it’s okay to ignore her and deal with her later.
Making the report is healing. It may not seem like it at the time. Especially when all you think: Can this be over with already? All the emotions, the questions, the doubt, everything, it’s all worth it because it validates what happened to you. Puts it on record. You can’t take it back. You can’t act like it doesn’t exist after that. Making you one step towards closing the chapter. One step towards taking back your power. You may have to wait a couple of days before it really feels that way, but it’s worth it. Even if it is just to have it on record.
I want to say, you really don’t need a reason behind making the report. If you feel this is something you want to do for yourself, healing or whatever, by all means do it. I probably wouldn’t have done it without the purpose of the program. In hindsight, I’m glad I made the report. It stamped reality on it for me. Made it real. Which was healing for me because I don’t remember everything. It was also healing because I had to face my fears.
Recovering and healing from childhood sexual abuse is an amazing healing journey. It’s way different than anything I’ve ever experienced. Although making the report was hard, I’m grateful it was put in my path. It made it real and I faced my fears of telling people I didn’t know. It’s much different than helping people through it. You know there is a common bond. A common link between you and that other person. When you go in to make a report, you have no idea what’s about to take place or how you will react. Making it the fear of the unknown.
Remember to always trust yourself and the information you know. Making a report or not. Always trust yourself even if you don’t remember the details. It doesn’t matter that you don’t remember the details. Remember taking any step in the recovery process is hard but it will eventually serve it’s purpose.
The journey of recovery can be long and hard but it doesn’t have to be lonely! Leave a comment or question below. Let’s connect!