Trigger warning: This post contains graphic content.
I remember my childhood as a time that was no less than a festival, filled with love, laughter, joy, toys, chocolates, friends, games and more. But something was not right. I can still feel the chill of the dark night, a piece of cloth in my mouth and my own muffled screams. When it all started, I don’t remember, but it will always be a grim chapter of my life.
I am a victim of child sexual abuse. I was abused by someone who was really close to the family.
During summer holidays, when everyone returned home, I returned to my hell. Those 40 days of summer vacation were filled with physical pain and mental agony. Whenever I looked at myself in the mirror, I was disgusted. My body, my face everything made me remember him. I hated myself. I wanted to ask for help from my family, my friends, anyone who could help. I was scared and confused.
“Whom should I tell? Who will help me?”
“No one”, that’s what he said. “Who would believe you?” he mocked me.
And the hope was shattered like a bubble. “Please help me“, I cried these three words again and again but no one could hear me. Day after day, month after month, year after year, I learned to endure the pain, to cry without tears and to keep quiet. A girl of 9 lost her childhood. He called it love, but I knew it was wrong; he was wrong.
Eventually, he got bored of that little girl who was 20 years younger than him. Like a predator that changes its prey after devouring every ounce of the flesh, he switched to someone I cherished. His new prey was my sister.
My sister is three years younger than me. I remember well, my little sister was in her white dress looking like an angel. “I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, I would protect her”, that’s what I thought. With a voice louder than thunder, I told my sister to leave, to never go to that place again for there was a monster living in that room. My sister ran with tears in her eyes. I didn’t console her for I knew that if she cried that day, she wouldn’t have to cry again in her life.
I thanked God for saving my sister from him. When I took a step towards home, two hands grabbed me from behind into that cold, lifeless room. “No, this can’t be happening“, I thought to myself. With all the power I had, I pushed him over. “Don’t you dare touch me again. I know my parents will believe me. I am their daughter.” With these words, I ran from there, without looking back, tears in my eyes and smile on my lips for I knew that I was free. At the age of 12, I was free. After approximately seven years of hell I was finally free.
I am a bird, born with a beautiful set of wings, but I was captured, tortured and all my feathers were plucked. Before my first flight, I was brought down to the ground. When I looked at myself, I felt pain. I thought I will never fly again. But we all know that my feathers will grow back and someday I will fly.
Also read: A Parent’s Guide To Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at email@example.com. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.