"May I tell you what happened to me?"
Throughout the day she had been a shy particpant. She never offered to come up to do a role play, but always did when asked. She had one of those smiles that was 'too ready', it made her look younger, less formitable, and like she was ready to laugh at herself before others had the chance to ... that, and of course, she was beautiful. I enjoyed to growing sense of confidence she had during the day, learning to claim the word 'no', learning to claim the space around her, learning that a smile is not always the best defense.
When the day was over I was saying my goodbyes particularly to those I know well. Then I saw her waiting, 'May I tell you what happened to me?'
I braced myself, she was so young, so pretty, so eager to please. Me, I'm losing the capacity to take the body blow of an abuse report and stagger back to concious action. "I met this guy at school. I thought he wanted to be mates. I wanted a friend to hang out with so I said I would hang out with him. Then he started texting me awful things. Dirty things. He was mad at me, he wanted to do things to me. When I saw what he was texting I couldn't show my mother. She doesn't use words like those. Those words would have upset her. So one day when I was walking home I saw a police officer, I asked him if I could ask him a question. He said that I could and then I showed him those messages. He got really upset and told me that I'd done the right thing. That boy doesn't bother me anymore, I think he's a bit afraid of me.'
I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I wanted to embrace her and hold her safe for a long time. It's a wrong thought, but was my thought. But then SHE DOESN'T NEED TO BE PROTECTED, she can do it herself.
I've been waiting for the sun to come out the other side of abuse.
Well, it just did.