I have moved into the next phase of seeking the right to be compensated. I thought I’d ‘won’ when the perpetrator pled guilty after my testimony but I have been proven wrong so many times. Every level of the administration in this sector has failed to address the actions or inactions (aka negligence) of the parties involved; from the man who hurt me to the Principal who laughed and then told all other members of staff they were not allowed to sit with me in the staffroom. From the criminal to the ridiculous.
There are two avenues left, I suppose. Seeking compensatory recognition or telling someone out loud, going public. At this stage I think seeking recognition of the seriousness of my injury will be the marginally less humiliating of the two…but I may be proved wrong.
A quick search of Workcover information and related blogs proved to be alarming. I want to be as aware of the processes as I can be, to ensure I can protect myself and not be too shocked when something happens. But knowledge is…you know, forever. I can’t un-panic. Un-read the experiences that are there in black and white. Or italics and Comic Sans.
To be really simplistic, I don’t think rape or stalking should have to be tested for ‘seriousness’ or whether the victim is ‘affected enough’. I’d suggest that to truly measure this would be quite impossible. To have a new Doctor report on it every ninty days, in addition to the monthly assessments by my personal GP, is more than I’d like. None of the reports have diagreed yet. Some have added other diagnoses. There is no doubt.
Since I saw my lawyer last week I have been stewing on things again. Not self indulgently. It just stirs up the muddy water. Each time I am a bit disappointed to realise that actually – it still hurts me very badly.
I work very hard to manage the negative feelings and PTSD using mindfulness techniques, medication and a burning desire to kick its ass and have the life I deserve. Speaking about things with a lawyer reminds me that there are still so many levels of bureaucracy that can potentially dismiss my experience and reject my claim. My proven claims.
My teeth clench. I am rubbing my tongue along my teeth like crazy. It’s irritating. The day I saw the lawyer I ripped all my fingernails off. Punishing no one but myself. Because no one will punish anybody else!
When the feelings resurface, I want to hide again. I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone who might have a connection to this story. I don’t want to feel like a great big loser, someone to be avoided. I don’t want my association with the few people left in my life to be awkward for them. I feel pathetic enough, I have no desire to share the shittiness. I think it would be easier if none of them knew me anymore. Partly because I can’t help thinking that they spend time with The Enemy, however far from involved or guilty they are. I also don’t want to inadvertantly share something about the process, my plans, my life, which becomes a burden for them. I think they probably kind of wish the same, as pure of heart as they are. Can friendship survive the length of this intrusive and divisive process? I feel desperately unsure.
I don’t go out much. But I was in the car today and singing along to my moderately angry rap music. Then I thought…’Am I allowed to be seen singing in my car? Should I refrain even from that lest it be photographed and submitted as ‘evidence’ that I have exaggerated my symptoms? What is left if I can’t even rap badly to music in my own vehicle? It was used ‘against’ me that I could still drive at all in one assessment. Never mind the times I’ve been in that car and thought of deliberately crashing it to stop the hurting. That I drive past schools and feel like vomiting. Sometimes I imagine burning the school down. I’m not happy that I can say that. And I don’t think that those are the thoughts of someone who is ‘conning the system’ or not indeed suffering a serious injury.
And then there’s when an ad comes on for teachers; young people espousing the ‘difference’ they want to make as a teacher and how they are following their dreams. And a part of me dies inside. Again. It makes me cry. Then really angry. I mock them in my head and then I weep for the loss of my ability to make a difference, my career with children.
Because I was hurt, abused, stalked, tormented, bullied and still I worked through it. Until all avenues of assistance and ‘justice’ slammed their doors in my face. Colleagues and strangers whispered that they ‘knew about what happened’. The others, the worst snakes, blanked me completely. Refused to acknowledge my professional standing as a referee or colleague so that I could try a third time to keep hold of my dream. This was never ever about my capabilities or performance. And these people I refer to are trusted with the moral and intellectual education and care of very young children. The management and institute and regional bosses – all have made light of my abuse and given obscene excuses for the parties involved. These people who care for children. Who refuse to sack a confessed sexual offender because “it might have been a one off”. They really said that. And I’m back to crazy/mad again.
I am nowhere near as over this as I’d imagined. I’m not even ready to actually tackle the feelings like I assumed I was. I don’t want to crack this open ONE BIT. I thought I was almost swimming but when I have to think about this nightmare, I am furiously paddling to get away. Or when I’m really hurting, I stop kicking and think about letting the tide taking me where it will.
I don’t know what I need. Just myself, I guess. I’m the only person I really trust. I only feel safe when I’m alone. That doesn’t sound right, does it? People equal danger for me now. I have to protect myself. So I curl up and let out a breath.
But I don’t stop. I won’t stop. I can’t stop.
It’s time for them to look over their shoulders and lose some sleep. I’m still here, you bastards. You should be worried.