“All those years drifting in space
I have known you well, yet I’ve never seen your face
You turn around, looking at me, laughter in your eyes
And now I can see”
Hayley Westenra, ‘Across the Universe of Time’

Some people grow up believing they’re dumb or ugly. I grew up believing I was a rapist. When I was five, I was accused of sexually assaulting my friend. The story, woven by my friend and her mother like venomous spiders, spread through the principal’s office, the classroom and the school yard, and I was no longer allowed to see my friend. The story did not end at the school gate too. It spread into the houses of mutual friends, into the neighbourhood which I unfortunately shared with my friend, and other schools we both found ourselves at years later. I had a number of friends taken away from me due to the story. I was watched in the yard by teachers and when I went to play with them I was told I had to play somewhere else. I had my enrolment declined at one school due to the story. I had my reputation stained. My friend and I both went to the same high school- the local, Catholic college for girls. Here the story was used as a reason to bully and exclude me, and a couple of my friend’s friends- her assassins- threatened to hurt me if I were to come near her or if she were to get expelled for her slander. As a child I often had dreams that none of this ever happened and we were still friends. But then I would wake up to this reality again. I was told that I was as good as a criminal, a message drilled into me every single day. My friend’s mother did not drive and walked everywhere with her children. Whenever they’d approach our house, her mother would lead them onto the grassy terra strip on the opposite side of the road where they would pass our house as far away as they could possibly get without trespassing on our opposing neighbour’s property. Her mother continued this routine for the rest of her life. Continue reading “An invisible scar”