Today’s REAL story is a tough one, you will need some tissues.
Heidi is Sarah’s Mum and she writes on her behalf today and its truly heartbreaking.
Take it away Heidi.
“Just over 7 years ago, our life was turned upside down. My only daughter, who was 8 at the time, revealed she had been sexually assaulted. Not by one, but by 4 boys. 3 of them were juveniles and the other was 21. I am not going to go into details about the assaults, but in the end 3 pled guilty, 1 not guilty, but later found guilty, dragging it through court for nearly 2 years, only to be found guilty. Only the 21 year old was locked up for 30 months. He has reoffended at least twice and has been in and out of prison. I don’t understand why the system keeps letting him out, just to get thrown back in a couple months later. The justice system is a joke!! He should never be let out!!
As a parent our number 1 job is to be there and protect our kids. If our kids fall, we pick them up. If they get a cut, we put a band aid on it and kiss it better, but when you can’t fix your children or make them better, you feel as though you have failed. I have wished over a thousand times, to make this better for my daughter, but I can’t. I can’t kiss away her pain or rub it better. This is something I can’t fix. I have cried for her, I have cried with her and I have cried alone.
She was only 8. How could such a terrible thing happen? You would never wish this on your worst enemy. I remember the night she told us. My heart sank. She had been keeping this secret and it just got all too much one evening and she blurted it out. At first, I was in disbelief, but and 8 year old can’t make up what she told us that night.
We had only been living in our newly built house for 16 months. The night she told us was the last night we spent in that house. I never went back. Our family, friends and my husband, packed the house up and we stayed at his parents’ house until we found the house we are in now. We ended up losing $150,000. It took over 12 months to sell and over a hundred thousand dollar price drop to get rid of it. We had to move, we had no choice. 2 of the offenders lived next door and the other across the road. It had to go.
They say what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger and it certainly does. But the one thing that has blown me away through this traumatic event, is the lack of support. There is no support for families, for the parents or siblings and very little support for the victims. It was about 2 years after the incident occurred that I stumbled across Bravehearts. They are predominately an eastern states based non-for profit organisation raising awareness on child sexual assault. Bravehearts has been a big help with my daughters recovery. Knowing that such an organisation exists, it gives her hope. For a long time she thought she was the only one and that she looked different on the outside and people could tell by looking at her what had happened. She felt dirty and ashamed as she got older and realised what those boys had done and what they had taken from her. I always knew it would get worse before it got better and in the past few months it has. She has her first boyfriend. He is lovely and she has opened up to him and disclosed her past. She has been seeing him for over 3 months and still have not shared a kiss. She can’t do it. She can’t get close and it breaks my heart to watch her go through all this pain again.
I am so proud of my daughter as she has realised that she does need to go back to counselling and deal with her depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. We are one of the lucky ones. She told us. There are so many victims out there that never tell. We will always be by her side and be there for her. As much as I have wanted to tell her story and raise awareness for the past 7 years, I have kept quiet as this is not my story to tell. This is hers and she is ready to start telling her story. It is her mission to bring Bravehearts to WA and raise awareness. This is Sarah’s story.”
On September 9th at 7pm, Sarah and her Mum Heidi are putting on a “Ladies Pamper and Fashion Evening”, to raise awareness for White Balloon Day which supports children that have been sexually assaulted. This day was created by Bravehearts who Heidi mentions in Sarah’s story.
If you want more info on the evening or the organisation www.bravehearts.org.au