Hi Ann... Ann... Ann? What’s wrong, you look ashen, come in, has something happened? Here, sit down, what’s wrong, you’re so pale, have you hurt yourself...? Did you see an accident on the bus on your way over...? I’ll make us a cup of tea, and I’ll get you a glass of wine, you look like you could do with a drink.
Tell me what happened Ann... Ann, this is not like you, you’ve not said a word, I’m worried, do you want me to call Terry... or a doctor?
No, I’ll be all right.
You don’t look all right. What happened to you?
On the bus... a man... he... he was rubbing himself against me, it was crowded and I couldn’t move away... and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to scream at him to stop it, to stop being so rude and disgusting but I couldn’t, I couldn’t open my mouth, I just stood there unable to do anything... And then he put his hand on my bum.
Oh you poor thing, how terrible, the bastard, bloody men, can’t leave women alone, always having to be groping at you, always wanting to have sex, always pushing, pushing, I’ve had enough of them. Bloody Mark was telling me that he didn’t want to take the kids this weekend, and they have been looking forward to it so much. He promised he’d take them to the fun park, he’s such a shit, letting them down again, business he said, always his bloody business...
Jenny, do you mind if I say something?
Oh god no, sorry Ann, I’m sorry, yes of course, you’ve had this horrible thing happen to you, here, have some more wine, you’ve hardly had any...
No, I’m all right, I just want to talk about it.
Yes, of course, go right ahead, and to think of that man doing that to you, that makes my blood boil. I would have kicked him in the balls, the bastard; and you trapped there unable to get away, you should go to the police and give them a description of him, the fucking pervert; if a man did that to me, I’d fucking make him wish he’d never been born, I’d have yelled the whole bus to a standstill, I wouldn’t have let him get away with it.
Jen, please, I just need to speak about it.
Yes, of course, I know I go on, but that makes me so angry, but yes Ann, I’m sorry, you’re in shock, it must have been a hell of a shock for you, that’s why you are so pale, so yes Ann, talk, I’ll shut up.
Thank you. Yes, as you say, I do feel shocked, very shocked, I can hardly speak. I feel like I’m lost, I don’t know what to do, as if I’m fading away.
Do you think I should ring Terry, he’ll know what to do Ann.
No, I just need to talk, I’ve got to try and talk about how bad I’m feeling, do you think you can just listen to me and not say anything.
Thank you. I know it’s hard for you, you’ve always got lots to say, but I don’t understand what’s happened to me, as soon as I felt him start rubbing himself against me I just froze, I didn’t feel anything.
You didn’t even feel angry?
No, I didn’t, and I know I should have, I know I should have been able to do as you said you’d have done, but I couldn’t do anything - nothing, I felt all faint, as if I was just going to fall on the ground, all the life gone of out me.
You’ve got a little colour coming back in your cheeks.
Yes shocked, that’s the right word for it, I feel all shaky, as if I’m trembling inside and all over, oh I feel very bad... scared, scared of what he might have done to me.
What do you mean done to you Ann, what there in the bus, I doubt he could have done much else, someone would have seen.
I know it doesn’t sound rational, but that’s how I’m feeling; what would he have done to me if I made a sound, if I screamed, if I moved, yes, that’s how I feel. I was petrified, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like that before in my life.
It’s certainly not the usual you Ann, you’re mostly so fiery and especially over things like that, you feel the same way I do.
I know, and that’s why I don’t understand it. I feel frightened, like I’m a little girl, and I’m... Oh Jen, you know I’ve just remembered, it has happened to me before.
When? You’ve never said anything about it before.
I know, I’ve completely forgotten about it. It was when I was young and first started to catch the bus to and from school. And it was on the way home one day, a man put his hand up under my skirt and felt my bum. I was standing and he was sitting and again it was crowded, and I was down the back and I didn’t know what to do. I froze then too, I felt as I feel now, so scared, yes, I remember, it’s all coming back to me. I felt the same now as I felt then, and I’d totally forgotten about it.
You must have blanked it from your mind, I’ve read of people doing that with traumatic experiences.
Yes I have, and this experience today has brought the memory back. Oh I feel so bad, and like I’m bad in some way, I don’t quite understand, but as if I’ve done something wrong... Yes, I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s how I feel, as if I’m the bad one, even as if I made the man do it to me for some reason, and that I was bad, and naughty and dirty, and that’s why I couldn’t tell anyone.
I’ve never told anyone Jen, I just blocked it out.
But why would you feel you were bad, as you said, you didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t entice him did you?
NO! I was only about six, that sort of thing I didn’t know about, I don’t think I knew what was really happening. And it didn’t last long as my stop came but I feel so shaky - shaken by it then just as I do now from happening on the way here. Shaky, and bad, even like I should be punished, I’m a bad girl, I’ve done a bad thing, that was a bad thing that man to did to me... But I do, I feel like I’m the bad one, it’s all my fault somehow.
Fuck that Ann, in no way are you the bad one. So you can get rid of that idea immediately. I think we should go to the police station and you can report the man, do you remember what he looked like?
Yes, but I don’t want to go, because then they’ll say it was my fault, and then I’ll be the bad girl I feel I am. I can’t tell anyone, no Jen, I just want to tell you, you’re my friend, and you understand.
Yes Ann I do, and if you change your mind I’m come with you, the kids don’t need to be picked up for a couple of hours.
You know Ann, the same thing happened to me when I was young too, some bloke put his hand up my dress, and I got such a shock, he just grabbed at me on the bus, and I got such a fright, I screamed, and you should have seen the look on his face, it was priceless, I can still see it today. He went bright red and ran for the exit. Everyone was looking at him. I hardly knew what happened, it was just a reaction but it sure did the trick. How are you feeling now?
A bit better having talked about it. I’ll be all right.
Talk some more if you like, I promise I’ll keep quiet.
No, that’s all right, I’d rather you said what you felt and thought. And I understand it was a shock for you to see me how I was, but it’s helped me understand more how important it is to get the person in shock speaking, but when they are ready, I couldn’t have just spoken straight away, I was too shocked. And in a way you talking so much and not wanting to listen to me, started to make me feel a bit angry, but I think that was good, I think it helped to bring me back a bit, at least enough so I could begin to talk.
Oh well that makes me feel better, I’d hate to think that I’m like that, talking too much - do I talk too much Ann?
Sometimes, but I like that, and mostly it doesn’t bother me, and as I’m feeling better about expressing my feelings anyway, making sure those people in my life respect me, then it doesn’t matter because I can tell you.
Yes, you’ve been doing that more lately.
And how does that make you feel?
It started to annoy me at first, you were cutting in on me and taking over, but it’s helped me realise that I do that to you and other people, so it’s something I want to try and work on about myself. Half the time I think it’s because I’m here with the kids so much by myself starved for other adult interaction, so when you come over I can’t shut up. But anyway, you keep going Ann, you’re feeling bad, you speak more.
I still feel shocked, but it’s easing off. I’m realising that nothing bad actually happened to me, he didn’t hurt me and I think that’s a big part of it.
Did anything ever happen to you like that within your family? I think we’ve known each other long enough for me to be able to ask you such a question.
No, not that I can remember. I have thought about it at times, I think we all probably do, particularly as there’s more about that sort of thing these days on the news, it’s more out in the open; but no, I can’t remember anything. I do remember my uncle sitting me on his knee, I used to love that, he’d bounce me up and down, but I think that was all harmless.
Yes for you, but you never can tell, bloody men, I hate them at the moment, Mark is giving me the shits, I have more to fucking do with him now we’re divorced than I did when we were married. He gives me the shits, it’s as it was, all to suit him, he says he loves the kids but hardly ever spends any time with them, just taking them away on some expensive holiday once a year. All that bloody business, always having to make more money, and what for when he neglects his own children, his business being more important to him than they are. Fucking men, they are all the same, you’re lucky with Terry, and he wanting to do all that expressing your feelings stuff with you, I wish I had someone in my life who wanted to make it the priority, putting me and the kids first and not something that’s not even flesh and blood. I could understand if he fell for another woman, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore, it nearly drove me crazy, him always on the phone, we always being put second, so many let downs and disappointments, it nearly drove me crazy. He’s not the sort of man who’s interested in speaking about all he feels, he’s only interested in the dollar. But shit Ann, I’m sorry, I’ve gone on again.
No Jenny, it’s all right now, I’m feeling a bit better, and it takes my mind off it anyway.
But you say you don’t want to have your mind doing that, taking you away from your bad feelings.
I know, but it’s just nice to be with you and to listen to your worries, it helps to keep mine in perspective.
No Ann, what happened to you is very bad, you can’t dismiss it, that’s not right, bastards like that shouldn’t be able to get away with it. We women have to stick together and stand up for our rights, stand up to them.
Yeah, well how I’m feeling now, I can’t do anything. I just need time to gather myself back together.
Do you still feel scared?
No, I don’t feel as shaky anymore, but it’s a lot to think about. I feel like there’s more for me to talk about, to go deeper into, but I can’t. Nothing seems to come, so I don’t mind if you talk all you want.
I suppose you can only do some much at anyone time anyway.
Yes, it seems to go like that.
Why don’t you stay until I pick the kids up, and then I’ll take you home, did you want to do anything else, you said you were dropping in on the way to do other shopping.
I don’t want to do that now - I will stay.
Back at home, Terry comes home from work.
How was Jen, you did go and see her?
Yes I did. I had a big shocking experience.
What... what happened... are you all right?
Yes, I am now, but I could hardly speak at Jen’s. A man rubbed himself against me on the bus on the way to her place, and put his hand on my bum.
Shit Ann, that’s terrible. What did you do?
I didn’t do anything, that was just it Terry, I couldn’t do anything. I don’t know what came over me, but I was so shocked, in a state of shock and I couldn’t do anything. The bus was crowded and I just had to wait until it was my time to get off.
Why didn’t you just get off anyway?
Yes I know, I thought about that, but I couldn’t, I don’t know why. I couldn’t do anything until Jen’s stop. I didn’t know what to do, I was just stunned, and it reminded me of when I was young, a young school girl and a man put his hand up my skirt on the bus on the way home. And at Jen’s I remembered this, I’d blocked it completely out-
Yeah, you’ve never told me about it.
No, I’d just blocked it out, because I felt that somehow it was my fault. I talked a little about it with Jen but I couldn’t go very far with it.
Your fault - how do you mean... why would it be your fault?
I don’t know, that’s what I’d like to find out. I’ve been longing for the truth, but nothing’s come to light so far.
So how are you feeling about it now?
I’m starting to feel more angry. I didn’t feel angry, I didn’t feel anything when he did it. I was just sort of stunned, but now I can feel myself getting more angry about it, and I think it’s helping you being home Terry.
You should have called me, and I’d have come home.
No, it was all right, I felt better and stayed with Jen and the kids most of the afternoon, I’ve only just got home too.
So you felt bad, why would you feel bad, that I don’t understand, you didn’t do anything wrong.
I know, but I do.
Do you still feel bad?
Yes a bit.
Can you talk more about it?
I’ll try. I feel that I should be punished, yes, that’s more like it, perhaps not that I’m bad myself, but I’ve done this bad thing, or let this bad thing happen to me and so I’m going to get into trouble. They are going to be angry with me-
Who, your parents?
Yes, if I go home and tell them, and I can’t tell them, they’ll say I shouldn’t have let it happen and they’ll be angry with me.
But how do you know, they might have felt sorry for you.
Yes, that’s what my mind says, but it’s not what I feel and I don’t know why. I think, so I hear myself telling myself that dad and mum would have been sympathetic, on my side, but my feelings aren’t saying that. And I think it’s mostly to do with dad. I could possibly tell mum, but I don’t want her to tell dad. Dad would get angry, that’s all I feel, and I don’t know of course if he would have, and it’s not as if I can go back and be six again or how ever old I was.
Did he ever treat you that way?
No, not that I remember. But I feel like if I tell him he’ll be really angry with me... and something else... ah, disappointed, yes, that’s it, that I will have let him down in some way, and he’ll be disappointed with me. And that he’ll not love me, he’ll not like me because of my doing the bad thing. Yes Terry, I know it doesn’t make any sense but that’s how I feel.
It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t make sense, it’s just to express your feelings, that much we know. So keep talking Ann, is there more you can say about it? What about your anger?
No, I don’t feel angry anymore, I feel scared again if anything; scared that dad will be upset with me, and I’m scared of him being angry with me. Yes, now I feel how scared I am of him being angry with me, so I can’t tell him I’m bad, that I’ve done such a bad thing.
What, that you let the man put his hand up your skirt.
Yes, that’s how it feels. I can’t make him be angry with me, and this is new Terry, I’ve not really felt this before; but now I feel that I never want to make him be angry with me, that I can’t, I hate that, I’ll do anything I can not to let that happen.
Because then he won’t like me as much. And I need him to like and love me Terry. Yes, that feeling is now getting stronger... I do, I really do, I do a lot, more than anything in the world. Gee, I’ve never felt that before. But it’s strong and clear now, I need him to love me, I do, I really do.
What do you feel if he doesn’t love you, what will happen to you?
I don’t know, but I can’t let that happen. I think it would be like the end of the world. I’d not be able to go on, I need to have his love and attention and his telling me how much he likes me. I hated it when he was angry and rejected me, oh I did, more and more I can feel how much I hated it, how bad I felt, how much it hurt me. So I couldn’t go to him looking for and knowing he’d give me his sympathy, and yet I do have a part in me that believes that I can. That I can go and tell him anything I want, speak about anything and at any time. But now I know that’s only a fantasy - god knows where that came from, god there is always so many parts to it all, but now I know for sure that I am scared of him. Perhaps not in everything, but in certain things. And no way could I go and tell him about some man putting his hand up my skirt, god he would have freaked. So I just blanked it out, and how incredible Terry that you can blank it out. I understand being able to blank out things from your very early childhood, I can hardly remember anything from back there anyway, and I don’t think we’re formed enough to be able to do so. I’ve read some peoples memories of looking at the sky or ground when they were two, but six, you’d think I’d have remembered that. But how incredible it is also that I’ve had this experience today and it’s helped to put me back in touch with that memory and show me a little more about my true relationship with dad.
Yes it is, as we’ve read, we do have to remember it all, all that we need to remember so as to uncover the truth of ourselves through our feelings, so I guess this is a good example of that. I wonder what I’ve blocked out and what it would take to make me remember, god I hate to think of having yet more bad experiences so as to make me feel bad so I can go with those bad feelings. That’s the only bad part about all of this, that we have to feel so bad. I love seeing the truth of all my yuk and myself, but to have to see through mostly our bad feelings, that sucks.
Well Terry, it can’t be helped, it’s how it is, so we just have to get on with it. But the good part is that once you have seen the truth then you no longer feel the bad feeling, that part I like.
It would be no bloody good and I’d never want to do it if seeing the truth only made you feel worse.
Yes, so God or whomever it is who made it how it is, sure knew what they were doing.