Reality Bites

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.   

5 thoughts on “Reality Bites

  1. I can’t believe that this all happened to you after your ex boss pled guilty. That’s just insane. And having to monitor every activity lest it be used against you is sick?

    Don’t they want you to move on?

    • Thanks for stopping by :). I have a hard time understanding how I am supposed to be able to heal and forge a new career/life after this major hurt when to be involved with Workcover and receive a portion of your lost wage – you have to remain in the darkest place of your life. And trot out the story for a stranger every three months. And answer questions, justify, explain. The thing they all miss (or know and don’t care) is that the drawn out shittyness would most certainly cause a complete breakdown even if I was fighting fit to begin with. To avoid paying money. Because in the end, that’s all I can fight for. No one will say sorry, though they have been found at fault. No one will acknowledge the pain (except beautiful people who read blogs and comment on them). I’m well aware I will have to fix myself but I hope I can make it as much trouble for ‘them’ as I can while they’re f*cking with me. That’s my new plan.

  2. Sorry that there is so much trauma in standing up for yourself….the process sounds grueling….sending you love and prayers for the harming behaviors to cease and for peace to envelope you during this time….

  3. I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to read this: I fell down the rabbit hole and am some 250 emails and blog posts behind. I am so sorry you are going through such inexcusably horrid behavior from your colleagues and the system. To be honest, when I was raped in the late seventies and early eighties, I chose not to report because the court system here in the US was filled with such hurtful processes that I just couldn’t put myself through it. And as it happened 6 times over a five year period, and I had no reliable social support, I just got further and further away from trusting the system or anyone else. Like you, I felt I had to handle it alone. That, as a matter of fact, was part of my trip down the rabbit hole: that after years of holding myself together and “being strong” I’m just very tired :0 In retrospect, had I been able to ask for help then I would probably be in better shape now. If I had asked for help instead of becoming a rape crisis counselor so I could learn the coping techniques without, you know, having to really COPE, lol.
    I admire you for stepping forward, and for having the amazing strength it takes to fight the hard but good fight. But taking care of you is your first job, and when the authorities or the medical professionals are not helping then it is important to find those who will. This amazing blogging community/phenomenon was not, obviously, available to me in the 1980’s. I don’ know what exactly would have been different for me if it had been, except perhaps that I would not have felt so utterly, completely alone in my terror, rage, and grief. I am both proud of the strength that I showed then and exhausted from trying to carry so much alone for so long. And I refused to be silent, even though I didn’t report the rapes: I would tell people I had been raped (one ‘friend’ was so uncomfortable with me speaking my truth that she would tell me I shouldn’t — what would people think of me?) just as though it was an accepted topic of conversation:) And I am so glad that I did, for two reasons: it quickly weeds out the idiots I don’t want in my life anyway, and more importantly I cannot count the number of times someone later came up to me (in the ladies room, or just away from others) and began with “I never told anyone this before….” and wound up telling me their stories. Some cried from relief at the breaking of the chains of silence and some thanked me for giving them the opportunity to feel they could tell someone. A few men were included in that group as well. I gave them the only thing I could: I listened with respect and compassion. I suggested therapy of some kind to them all — but have had the devils own time getting myself to get therapy. Part of it is finding a therapist whose style fits your needs andwith whom you can feel safe. That is a blessing that can be hard to find but is completely worth the effort. I have left two therapists in the last 5 years, but I believe the woman I’ve just started with might finally be of some help. I tried to believe that gender would not make a difference but the truth is I can only relate to a woman therapist.
    Well, now that I’ve written you a small book I wil move on. Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk — I can still listen pretty well, even if my writing goes on and on…
    Blessed Be, dancing warrior (Meg)

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