The Shape of Velvet; Guest Post.

A friend very dear to me, who I’ve worked with and become quite close to over the past two years, has used her (amazing and genius) creativity to share with the world her story and her life. I implore you, whoever you are, to read and share this blog. Talk about it with your friends, family, children and colleagues. This is a story heard too often and too often those who cause the scars and pain are able to walk away as if it never happened. And it has to stop.

Onwards and upwards 

Updated: 1 day ago

Is it me? What I’m I doing… sometimes I feel like saying “well that’s a wrap”, maybe I should just thank people for their support and move on, but there’s a bigger picture than that. I was naive in thinking it would come to an end. Firstly with how many people are affected by this and how far it goes back… and when someone has gotten away with this for so long they just keep getting more and more dangerous and smug. I’ve been unable to talk about some of my feelings for the last year or so as there has been a police investigation going on, I’m still unable to share parts however what I can shine a light on I will. The investigation is over, unfortunately this is due to lack of evidence… but obviously we have no evidence it was years ago and my mother is being let’s say less than helpful. It’s frustrating, it’s upsetting but it’s not surprising.

Firstly before I start let’s run over a few points, a bit of a recap because I know friends, foes and ‘neutral’ parties will be reading this and I think it’s good to get some things out of the way firstly before I spill my feelings out once again. I’m aware I’m acting out of emotion they probably want this, it’s what narcissistic people do, they work on making us look crazy… I play into their hands, yep I’m self aware of that, but I have my reasons and I’m using my voice and my outlet because I’m an adult and that’s my prerogative.

If you have read all my other blogs then you can probably skip this part… if you haven’t read The shape of my art then none of this will make sense.

  • Yeah I tried to rebuild a relationship with my mum. She was ill I was naive, I tried way to hard and I regret it, now people are using this against all the facts.
  • Abusive people don’t show their true colours to everyone. They can be kind and charming when they need to be.
  • Kids often don’t realise what’s abusive or not, growing up in a toxic environment is confusing on many levels.
  • It doesn’t matter when you speak up or how much time has past, the truth is the truth end of.
  • All these people are not lying, in fact many are still staying quiet.
  • Yes when I was trying to make amends with my mother I let my daughter start to build a relationship with her too, this fills me with guilt and i’m gutted that I did this but I’m still a good mum.
  • It doesn’t matter if it ‘hasn’t happened to you’ I’m telling you now chances are if you live in Brecon you know someone even a friend of a friend who is somehow connected to this…
  • The reason I kicked off back last year about this was a younger family member came to me concerned about a few factors and as an adult I couldn’t stay quiet but I can’t get the authorities to listen.
  • Trust me, if I knew how bad some of it was there is no way I would have continued to play happy families for so long! Even I’m sickened and shocked by it all.
  • I don’t give a fuck that my old neighbours have seen me playing nice and taking part in the family for a brief part in my life, this was literally a fleeting moment, trust me now what happens behind closed doors is always a different story to people like that, totally get that it might seem odd to people that for a few years I try to forgive and forget. I was trying to do what I thought was right… remember I grew up in a abusive household where I wasn’t in control and my feelings never came first, so pushing aside my needs for the sake of others is engrained in me, also unfortunately we were very well trained at acting happy.
  • The people who read this, if you don’t believe me or the others ok, that’s up to you but If anything comes from this at all please, please, PLEASE let it be that you give this blog the benefit of the doubt and you stop anyone you know with a young daughter from going around that house or meeting up with him, being friends with him on social media. That is literally all that I ask, and that anyone who thinks they can help by sharing this blog does so, you don’t have to explain any of your experiences if you don’t want to, but by sharing we can spread some awareness but also show our support for each other and hopefully protect someone.
  • I got caught up in the romantic idea of having a ‘normal’ family and got carried away with having a mum while dismissing all my negative feelings that were damaging my mental health and having an effect on my judgment.
  • Why would any of us lie? What have we got to gain? I still have to walk around this town, think about that.
  • If someone came to you with disturbing information and you yourself had past experiences that were connected what would you do? Don’t begin to judge me if you have never been in my situation.
  • Some younger family members are saying i’m lying, I don’t blame them at all for any of their parts, they are children and they have a right to do what they feel is best. I want no negativity towards them at all.

Great, now that’s out the way… I don’t usually want loads of people reading my blogs, 30-40 views to me is always a comfortable number, however this one I want to be noticed more I guess. So again I’m asking if you can share please do.

My counsellor asked me again what I got from my blog. She asked what I wanted to achieve from sharing them. That question has been on my mind the last few days. It’s tricky, I’m still not sure, I think I want justice, I think I want awareness, I think I want to be heard, or I just need to do them perhaps. This one has been a long time coming well over a year in fact. I’ve been writing bits of this blog as I’ve been going through the police process, it also coincided with a stressful pregnancy and complicated birth (which is now done and Lunar is thriving). It’s been wild and life’s had ups and downs but as I’ve learnt over the past year or so story’s get told and life moves on. The phrase “it is what it is” is one I find myself using a lot in conversations. So here are a few of my diary entries for the last year that i’ve edited to make this blog-

The Blog

It was early hours of the morning, an unknown number was ringing me, that’s never good is it?!? It was the police, my life had always been hectic so the police ringing between the hours of 2am-5am wasn’t all that much of a shock unfortunately. My brother had almost died by suicide, I could hear him crying while the police spoke to me. Processing that kind of phone call is tricky, triggering and will really ruin a nights sleep.

The next day after he was released from the hospital I sat in a jail cell with him, he was confused and hurt, we were both exhausted. His mental health was extremely worrying, my anger growing. Why was I so angry? I was angry because I was sitting in a cell with my brother, I was thinking he doesn’t belong here. He belongs somewhere, but it’s not here… it was a battle, phone calls, police, I was almost begging for him to be sectioned to give me time to think of a more permanent solution, to get him help. I knew that the state he was in he would harm himself given the chance. I wasn’t going to let that happen, he is my family. I received a text from a number I’ve never had saved in my phone. It was from my mother, she was as cold as ever, “don’t let him home with you, he needs help”. There was no, ‘tell him I love him’, there was no ‘I want to help you, this is what we are going to do’, or no ‘what can I do to help’ … nothing, it reminded me how I used to feel as a child when she would do nothing when we needed her.

When she got ill I put aside all my hate, all my anger, all my frustrations and so much more. Because I thought that’s what I should do, she had cancer and I wanted to be a good person. After receiving that cold, inpersonal text from her it became apparent that she was still the same unloving, unsupportive cold person who’s first priority would always be herself.

I felt like I was going to pass out, I’d been at the police station for hours finally I’d got my brother into a unit where firstly he could detox in a safe environment and his mental health could be assessed while myself and other family members tried to get him into a rehab. I got home and had a shower where I cried. I took some deep breaths as the water washed away the day.

Some of my family members and myself spent the next few weeks sorting out a rehab while my brother waited for us to help. We love him, so we helped him, because that’s what family are meant to do! The NHS unfortunately don’t offer much help, and it’s all very tricky.

It was after this I decided enough was enough, we needed to open up about our childhood. It’s been difficult, from police interviews, to emails, to meetings and phone calls it’s all exhausting. I’ve unfortunately had police interviews before as a teenager, I’m open about this because I can admit my own wrong doings and can see that I was in no ways an easy adolescent. However I never deserved to get treated the way I did in my own home, the same with my siblings.

The police investigation was in many ways positive, my interview was filmed, it was sensitive, dignified and safe. That side of the process came with exhausting challenges however also relief in being believed. I wish I could share more details. I didn’t go to work the day after my interview because I was just so tired and I was throwing up. I was also pregnant at the time, I’ve been very open with my management and work colleagues through this process, which has been helpful on many levels. I also understand that this isn’t always the case for some people so I’m grateful for my support system.

I had a counselling session and I remember thinking after, “fuck do I have PTSD”… I grew up to afraid to sleep some nights and I have long lasting effects from those experiences. (FYI I also know some of my problems are down to my nerodivergent traits I believe i’ve mentioned that before in some past blogs). Counselling has helped me become much more self aware, it’s expensive though!

I used to live right across from my mother, that was tricky there was a time when I wouldn’t talk to her at all so living across from her was awkward! Then she started to creep back into my life and her illness got to my empathetic side. I regret this, I always see post on social media like “don’t hold grudges, you will regret not speaking to family members when they are gone” and all that blah, blah. This is toxic and a harmful message to push on people. So now I take my pills, I do my counselling, I create art and write to help regulate my emotions and intrusive thoughts… while they walk around calling me all sorts and get a sympathetic ear from people who don’t ask too many questions. But that’s fine, we all get freedom of speech right…

We live in a world where the people who come forward are more likely to get a backlash for speaking the truth than the perpetrators who committed the crimes are! It’s easier to pass off the truth as “causing a fuss”… we get told “be a voice, speak out” but then we get told to “be careful what information you share”. It’s frustrating too because you can tell that the police generally believe you when it comes to historical investigations, but they did make it very clear from the start “they are almost impossible to prove” I get it, but do I think they did enough? It’s tricky. It’s a difficult job, I get it, they were actually lovely at some points, the communication wasn’t amazing, but it’s clear to see that it’s the system that doesn’t do enough. We live in a world built up by angry men, for angry men to live in. And I know many people will disagree with that view, but think about… really think, imagine how hard it is to be in a scenario where you have to go up against someone who has constantly got away with disgusting misogynist behaviour in a world with a system run by misogynistic men. Fuck it’s frustrating, there are so many hoops I feel like a show pony from all the jumping!

When I posted my blog (The shape of my art) it got shared and commented as to be expected I guess, what wasn’t to be expected was the volume of messages and comments from people who had very creepy and dangerous experiences. I’m so glad I decided to write and share that blog! Yes there were times I thought maybe I’ve overshared, even though I held back. It’s a tricky one for sure right, how much is too much? How much isn’t enough? Why can’t we all just say what happened and be believed! I’m angry, but I’m also oddly at peace with some aspects of the last year, I feel more supported. When I got messages and I heard that people I knew and people I didn’t know had started talking about their experience because of the blog it was both as if a weight had been lifted because I knew people believed me but It was also triggering and distressing because I’m good at putting myself into how someone feels so my empathy became a little hard to navigate.

Some of the stories I was being told really got to me, I mean how can someone get away with all of that! Why is no one doing anything! And not just him, ALL MEN yes I said it, come at me. Firstly I know not all men are bad. Obviously but they have each other’s backs right?…Or they stay silent, FYI disapproving from a distance but keeping quiet isn’t helpful it’s harmful. We all need to speak up more, and trust me I get it I’ve been there we are the ones who get labelled as “difficult” or “starting trouble”. It’s funny right when men get caught out it’s always “oh she’s attention seeking” it’s like their ‘go to’.

It needs to be talked about more so lets say a ‘man’ hypothetically speaking (wink if you know you know right…) in a position of trust perhaps he’s a taxi driver, cadet volunteer, bouncer, personal trainer, fire fighter, or even an paramedic but he uses these roles to get away with harassing behaviour and goes for many years undetected. Then imagine it get’s even worse, he uses these jobs to make himself seam more and more trustworthy, safe, friendly, then he manages to get peoples personal details, such as addresses and phone numbers… hypothetically speaking…*winks again* sigh. This isn’t working, it’s hunting and young women and girls are the prey, how do you stop this?

So what’s a historical investigation? Again I can’t give all the information I’d like from my experiences, however talking on a much wider level anything that happened to someone as a child that is reported when they become an adult or after an amount of time has past is ‘historical’ and difficult to prove without, evidence, witnesses, physical evidence or photos etc. so yeah, it’s basically jumping through hoops hoping for some kind of miracle, and it takes years in some cases and unfortunately more than often gets dragged out so long that providing proof is difficult so a survivors feel as if their life’s are put on hold for so long they end up dropping the case. However, all crimes need to be reported when possible, big, small, historical or recent when something is logged at least it’s on file and can be used in connection with something one day if needed. I’m really not trying to put anyone off from seeking justice, or talk anyone into something they don’t want to do, I just want to be open about my feelings.

I found out the case had been dropped via a phone call, my heart sank when an unknown number rang me, it’s funny how you just know when bad news is coming isn’t it. I had a fairly lengthy conversation with the leading officer, again I can’t disclose too much information. She apologised for not being able to get us Justice, I thanked her for her time, and like that the phone call was over like the investigation. I lay my head on my bed and cried, thinking to myself ‘it’s all been for nothing’. I gave myself a little time, shortly after that my phone rang reminding me I had a meeting with some wedding clients. I had to snap out of my disappointment and carry on with my day, because in these situations that’s what we must do. We have no choice, it’s not fair and it’s hard, but such is life.

It’s gross and part of me would I love to share more details but that’s also unfair on others and that’s not me. Admittedly I wish more people would speak out more openly, speak, whisper, shout however you need to get your words out they matter, they are important, they will help others, invite people into your conversations, knowledge is power and we need to take our power back.

Ive grown from this, it hasn’t made me less of a person, it’s made me better, stronger, more empathetic, mindful, I know now that I have people…

Take a read at the blog that kicked it all off and if you feel you can help in any way please do. This is all true, in fact it’s not even the worst I could have written more, I could have got darker, this may seem like a rant however it’s the chaos I’ve lived. The shape of my art

It’s not a wrap though, let’s get that straight. Thank you everyone for your support and sticking with us.

My Art

So I also like to put some art into my blogs… after the case was dropped I decided to do some long exposures. Part of me wanted to lose my cool, to pick something and throw it, to scream loud and release my anger. BUT, that isn’t me now, I’m not that person. So instead I did a controlled long exposure of how I felt, this is all done in camera, I used a ring light. I basically just moved around really slowly with my shutter open, it was very therapeutic!

These are also long exposure, I really sympathise with anyone who has tried to get justice or awareness and has failed to do so, it’s tricky, it makes us feels small, but it’s when we feel small and lost that we can also become powerful, because that’s when we can find like minded people…

We had a night away last week, we stayed in a lovely B&B and visited the beach, we have two young children so of course there were a few stressful moments however in all it was a successful little family trip, it had laughter, love and a few tears but we all made some lovely memories. I took a 10 minutes walk along the beach on my own to take some photos, I stood in the sea and remembered the person I was a a few years ago, how far I’ve come and how far i still have to go, I felt happiness wash over me as the sea rushed to my feet. Sometimes life can seam very black and white, good vs bad, right vs wrong… however it’s much more complex than that isn’t it?

I did these images last week before I knew the case was getting dropped, I was feeling a little off about life I guess and wanted to do something meaningful. these images represent coping mechanisms but also ambition for change. I had also just got out of the shower and wasn’t dressed yet, like other blogs I often use my skin as a tool in my art work. I hate how our bodies have been over sexualised in not only the media but also our artwork, I love the simplicity of skin without clothing in images however when we do this our images get classified as ‘nudes’. I didn’t use any flash lighting just high ISO in camera. I really like the slightly grainy look and moodiness to them.

I did these images a while ago, I was pregnant at the time and the investigation was in full swing, I was having some really full on nightmares and hormonal. I guess I reopened some doors that were stressing me out! I really like these images though, I’ve already shared them before in an older blog however they are definitely relative to this one!

Velvet’s blog can be found here

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