Please Note: Posts in the ‘My Story’ page always have the newest post on the top. If you would like to read the story from the beginning – start with “An Introduction”. Thanks for reading! ~IWFA
I had just been told by detectives that I was accused of sexually abusing a child. Worse yet – accused by a friend…someone who I considered to be my family. And…I did not do it!
What do you do when something like this happens to you? This is something you aren’t taught in school. What you are taught, though, by society…what you see in the media every day…is that “these people” – those accused of crimes like this – no longer have a life. They are shunned by family, by friends, by the community. They are the targets of violence. They lose everything. They live meaningless lives in dingy motels – if they even survive the decades of abuse in prison. What is going to happen to my life that I worked so hard to be successful at? I strived to be a moral and ethical person every day. I made the right decisions. What about my career? It is all I know and love. My house? My friends…what will they think? Will they believe me? My family – how do I even begin to tell my family about this?
As I get in my car to drive away from the prosecutor’s office I am numb. I don’t know where I should go. I don’t know who I should call. I don’t know if I am even able to drive. I remember turning my phone back on. The detectives had made me turn it off earlier because it kept ringing. There were so many messages from work…from my boss. I had left hours ago to address what I thought was a simple problem with John. I did not have a position where I could ignore these types of phone calls…but I went missing to them for 6 hours! And at that point I couldn’t bear to return those calls.
I remember starting to drive towards home, making the turn out of that parking lot…and nothing else. I don’t know how I arrived safely! When I walked in my door John was sitting on the couch. He didn’t expect for me to be able to come home, and jumped into my arms…and we both started crying. I told him my life was over…everything I had worked for was gone! I don’t remember much from that day…but I will never forget John saying to me at that moment “no one will believe it”.
Then, I remember feeling sick…almost feelingless…like I was watching all this happen from the outside somehow as the gravity of this allegation really started to sink in. I climbed the stairs and got into bed. I just wanted all of this to be over. Before too long (I think..time seemed to stand still for a couple days) my best friend Charles was standing in my room with John. I am told that I called him on the drive home, but I don’t remember that phone call. He was at work, and immediately left without explanation to come make sure I was ok. What a friend! He asked me if I had told my parents what happened. I told him there was no way I could tell them…how do you have that conversation? I couldn’t do it. Charles left my house – drove to my mother’s house – and told them the news. Before too long he returned with my mom and step-dad. She was crying…he was cursing about Michael – about how we let him into our family – took care of him when his own family didn’t – and now he does this.
I remember my mother saying “if you are innocent then you need to go on with your life”. She said “you get up tomorrow morning and live like you are innocent”. I shared my fears about my life…my job…my house…my friends. This began what turned into an all-night discussion. I called my boss, who arrived at my house in minutes. John’s mom showed up soon after. I called my immediate ex-girlfriend…she had a young son, so I thought she needed to hear about this directly from me. She also dropped what she was doing and came right over. The group of us sat around and talked all night. My boss thought it was outrageous – he told me to take whatever time off I needed, and whenever I was ready to come back to just do so. My girlfriend was extraordinarily supportive. She told me there was no way she would have believed it no matter how she heard – and that no one else that knew me would either.
While this should have taken away some of the edge because two of my biggest concerns really didn’t seem to be there anymore…nothing too much had changed for me mentally. I reached a point where I just could no longer think about it…I could no longer function. I went to bed thinking “NOW WHAT”. What do I do when I wake up tomorrow? What happens next? Will everyone know? Now what?
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