Youth Ki Awaaz is undergoing scheduled maintenance. Some features may not work as desired.

Being Molested Didn’t Rob Me Of My Dignity Because ‘Respect Comes from Within’

Posted on October 31, 2015 in Gender-Based Violence, My Story, Taboos

By Anonymous:

Trigger warning: This post contains graphic content.

I was drunk; drunk enough to lose control over things but not enough to not know what is happening in my surrounding. We were wrapped in a hug. For me, it was the nostalgia. But his hand slid inside my pants, and his fingers dug into my ass. In a similar way, his other hand found my breasts. Only when it went near my vagina, was I able to pull apart.

woman silhouette girl shadow
For representation only

It happened. It passed. I did not say a word. Not then. A couple of days later, when the curtain of the bedside window brushed against my arms, and I woke up with the feeling of being groped. In the shower when my naked back touched the knob of the tap, I felt the same again. I convinced myself that it happened because both of us were drunk. I convinced myself that I was at fault. I wanted to stop him from the very beginning, but I failed.

Unable to deal with the after effects alone, I finally opened up to a friend. He said I had been molested. I tried to defend the act by blaming the drunkenness. He wasn’t convinced. He was outraged. He convinced me to talk to the person about the incident. And so, I did. What left me stunned was that he accepted complete awareness of the act, defending it as desperation. So, for the first time in those couple of days I felt molested.

It wasn’t the physical act that was traumatic. I was simply unable to accept that someone so close to me could do this intentionally. It tore me. I talked to people about it. They were supportive. But they failed to understand that the emotional and mental imbalance wasn’t related to the idea of shame that the female body is often associated with. (And if we are after all following Milton’s idea of shame, then it should be associated with humans, not just women).

It has been six months since that incident. I think about it every single day. It probably took me a lot of time to accept what had happened, and at times I still question it. For months, I held myself responsible for the event. The nightmares began, worsened and finally stopped. I blamed myself for not being in charge of my own body, which in turn made me feel the desperate need to control everything in my life. I got over the emotional attachment I shared with the person. And yes, I did have a hard time trusting anyone again. But one question that haunted me was, why did I not feel like a survivor robbed of her privacy, her purity, her dignity? (As is the general reaction in such cases).

I have made many attempts to write about the incident. I did not want it to be another story so that people would sympathize with because I need none of it. Yes, I was molested. But I wasn’t a survivor of the flawed ideas of purity, dignity, decency, modesty, etc associated with the female body by the society. Yes, my body was hurt brutally, but it didn’t mean that I was left with no reason to lead a normal life. It didn’t mean that I was robbed off the respect they had as an individual. Respect comes from within, not from how one’s body is treated. I do not know how to stop the rapidly increasing crimes. I know that we, as the society, have a big role to play in the trauma that the survivor suffers from. If anything, we can try to deconstruct the myths associated with the female body. And it is not so big a deal as it might seem initially. It is our own body, after all.

This post is a request to the readers to not sympathize with survivors, but make life easier for them. I am not ashamed of what happened to me. I am not ashamed of accepting it on a public platform. So one might ask why I choose the anonymity. I choose it because as of now I do not have a ground on which I can make a revelation and deal with the repercussions on my own without affecting the people closely associated with me. So this anonymity isn’t a sign of not being strong enough to face the world as it is. Irrespective of how much I want a change in the society, I still live within it. And the change won’t come from outside, one has to appropriate it from within. This is just an attempt to do so.