Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The day I confronted my abuser

Confronting my abuser was something I decided to do towards the end of my therapy so I asked my counsellor what her opinion was and she told me if it was what I wanted that I should do it. Therefore, I had a few extra counselling sessions in order to prepare for the confrontation. During those sessions, I practiced what I wanted to say to the abuser and my counsellor and I did a kind of role-play. She prepared me for the worst, by pretending to walk away from me and not want to listen.

Finally, that all-important day arrived where I would confront the person who abused me all those years ago. I felt very strong and as I was travelling to the house with my father, as though I had nerves of steel. When I was face to face with the abuser, I didn’t shout but calmly said, “I’ve come here to say, I’m not scared of you, you can’t hurt me anymore and I will come here when I want. I did nothing wrong but you did.”

“You’re talking about something that happened 20 years ago.” He blurted out, (so I kind of got an admission) and he ran and hid behind a door. I was angered by his cowardice so I raised my voice, “Scared are you? Why don’t you come out?” The coward came out from hiding, I felt so powerful and as though the roles had now reversed. I approached him and said firmly, “I’m not scared of you, do you understand? You can’t hurt me anymore.” He looked like a weak little hermit and I felt like a strong, powerful woman.

Once I had finished, he sat down and started shouting. Something very strange happened, I could see his mouth moving but I heard no sound coming from his mouth. I had said everything I needed to so I walked out of the house with my head held high. I went next door to my aunt’s house and burst into tears, she hugged me. I felt relieved that I had done it and released my emotions in the way I had wanted to.

That was a special day and a very important one to me. I was lucky to have my father and some other family members there for moral support. I guess I didn’t know how I’d react until I saw him, however I still tell people that confronting was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. It left me feeling liberated and even stronger than I was before. I feel that if I could do something like that , I can achieve anything I aspire.

A few days later, my father told me that he avoided going to a certain bar because his brother (the abuser) went there. I felt furious, so I told my father to take me there. Sure enough, we arrived and the abuser was sat outside playing cards, I shouted, “Dad, it smells of shit out here.” I felt angry that he was still living the life of a free person and that people still spoke to him even after knowing what he had done. I was also angry because my father felt he couldn’t go there because of him. Therefore, when we left, I approached the table and shouted, “You’ve got a nerve coming here.” Of course, he stayed quiet and kept his head down; as he felt guilty, humiliated and probably thought he could gain sympathy.

My counsellor was happy to hear about the empowering things I had done upon returning to the place where I was abused. I told her that I hadn’t planned the second confrontation and that what I said had just come out, she said I need to let it out in any way I feel suitable. She was shocked that I got a half-admission from my abuser, told me she was in awe of me, and always had been. “You came here like a little girl and are leaving a confident woman.”

If confronting your abuser is something you are considering doing, I’d advise that you prepare for it beforehand either with a friend or your therapist. Plan everything that you want to say so that you feel confident and ready. In addition, it might be an idea to have some family or friends with you for moral support as it will be an emotional experience. It also depends on the relationship you have with the abuser as to whether you notify them of your visit or not. Ultimately, you should do what you feel comfortable with, as it will be an important day that you will never forget.