I am extremely proud today of my friends M and L and of L’s daughters. For the last six weekdays, L and her daughters have had to relive for a judge and jury horrendous experiences that should never have happened. M has supported his step-family through pain and anguish with huge compassion. He has had every reason to be distraught but he has been rock-solid for them.
L’s daughters needed to be believed and for most of the last week they have not known whether they would be. The jury left the court at four minutes past ten this morning and we waited five slow hours in limbo – drinking coffee, walking outside, walking back in, looking though the court doors to see it was still empty, walking outside again, walking in again – before they came back with guilty verdicts on eight of the charges. The relief! Another hour and the jury returned guilty verdicts on the remaining three. The relief! Finally, after years and years, L and her daughters have been believed. As a result, a man who is a danger to children will spend ‘a substantial time’ in prison and has today been removed from where he can damage others.
This family thinks they have gone through the agonising judicial system so as to be able to start to rebuild their own lives. I believe that their bravery has done much more than that. Speaking out about historic abuse lets others, whose stories will never be heard in court, know that what happened to them was wrong and that they were not to blame. Speaking out will encourage others to tell their truths and be heard. Speaking out helps all of us be more alert to what can happen, what is happening, in broad daylight.
Thank you, M, L and your wonderful brave family.
(So this is where I have spent four of the last six court days.)