"A bubbly young girl, full of life and energy.She was one of my favorites I could chat my way into dawn with her without a single dull moment.
Yet. Something about her equation with her Mom disturbed me. There was some emotional turbulence in her that made me very uncomfortable.
Somehow, her fabulous personality and erratic outbursts were too contradictory to be normal.
Then one day, she confided into me a horrendous story of abuse and distrust. She'd been sexually harassed for years by her own Uncle and her Mother refused to believe her. She was instead blamed of making stories and asked to shut-up.
I was left speechless in horror."
It is always painful to hear and write about sexual abuse. When the issue is child sexual abuse, its not just painful but excruciating to emote. However, to get over the pain- we need to first look straight into its face, make it visible and then fight, till we erase it from our lives.
Makes me cringe.
It can happen to anyone. It could be happening to anyone. It might have happened to anyone.
Even a lewd comment on the road in public glare that embarrassed you is a form of sexual abuse. Even the creep who felt you up in a crowded place is an abuser.The more obvious and in-your-face forms of sexual abuse are not the only forms of harassment. What I'm talking about is the everyday trauma children and women face. Mental and physical abuse that remains under cover and makes them uncomfortable, squirm, inhibited and cocooned. Abuse that shakes the whole value-system of our country to its core.
If studies are to be believed, perpetrators are often known to the victim and his/her family. A relative,friend or acquaintance. Scary, but true to the core!
The idea is not to make you distrust people. The idea is to unveil this morbid truth and instil fear of public humiliation into perpetrators.
In my opinion, the society is largely responsible for the fear and trauma victims of sexual abuse suffer. Miscreants use our hyper and confused outlook as a society towards anything sexual to their advantage and torment victims. They are completely aware of the overwhelming shame a victim and its kin feel upon violation. They capitalize upon the outrageous truth that keeping quiet is encouraged,that cowardice has become our glaring trademark and that we refrain from standing up for each-other!The biggest democracy of the world is the biggest failure in its very existence because we accept defeat even before starting a mission. What's worse is that the baton of accepting defeat is passed on to the posterity too.
As I grow older, I find a strange frustration driving me towards despising our country,its government and laws. Despite trying hard to immune myself to this disgust, I can't help losing my composure in the dirt that's spread all over the place. It starts at the very BASIC- SECURITY.
As a woman from a nation that supposedly stands for culture and values that's our pride, I would like to ask each one of us, including myself- "Will I EVER feel safe here? Will I ever raise a baby in this country devoid of the fear that he/she's prone to sexual harassment every moment s/he breathes? Will we ever get freedom from these dark shackles that echo of brazen injustice?"
If you noticed someone being badgered and turned away to "mind your own business", you failed.If you allowed someone to torment you and kept quiet because you were too shocked or embarrassed, you failed. If you ignored the sorrow in a child's eyes and behaviour, you failed and failed miserably at that!
It’s our duty to protect each-other, stand-up for the weaker and own responsibility of the consequences of our collective conscience.The change starts at being bold, fearless and vocal.
Talking about sexual abuse might not be an end-to-end solution really- BUT- talking about it and rendering support(not sympathy) to victims is our duty . A duty that EACH ONE OF US owes to each-other.Survivors deserve a normal life and that's possible only if we come-to-terms with the fact that sexual abuse as a phenomena is NOT rare.We need to voice our concerns and give victims comfort that its just the degree of hurt that varies but all of us have been violated in some form or the other. Lets give them comfort that they are not pitiable outcasts, destined for doom if they muster courage to share their agony.Let's quit living in denial, turn fearless and erase this evil from its roots.
Speak up. Make the invisible visible.“Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right for life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold.”
― Brad Pitt