By Deepti Chadha:
I am sure all of you have access to Google and can learn about sexual abuse and harassment, but I still feel the need to address people here. To begin with, I want to say that males and females are both targets for sexual abuse and harassment. Most of the people, who have experienced it, either prefer keeping it to themselves, a few might not even be aware that what has happened to them can be classified as sexual abuse or harassment.
Sexual abuse or assault doesn’t mean rape only, it can also be attempted rape, as well as any other sexual threat or contact that is done without the consent of the other person. The assailant could be a stranger, acquaintance, friend or family member.
Sexual harassment can take place anywhere-offices, schools, hotels- it does not necessarily have to be somewhere private. This can usually be done by inappropriate touching, groping, sexual innuendos and comments, ogling or staring, letters or calls of sexual nature and many other ways. We all need to be aware of what is happening around us and not let anybody do something that is inappropriate to you, against your will, and if it does happen, do not keep silent about it.
Sadly, very often sexual assault or abuse can take place within the family. Before writing this, I looked up many stories about sexual abuse, and was surprised to find that a lot of them had taken place within the family, and had traumatised the victim in ways that are inexplicable. When it happens within the family, people tend not to let it out because it might ruin the family’s reputation, or they are tricked or threatened not to speak about it. But we need to remember, that in case this happens within the family, it still needs to be reported or talked about. Keeping it to yourself is only going to traumatize you for the rest of your life and wouldn’t stop the person from doing it again.
We also often see YouTube channels like Sam Pepper who has videos of kissing random girls in public or touching them without their consent. The edited version might look funny or appealing, but the reality beyond that is much darker. Do not encourage YouTubers or channels like these.
The person assaulting you might try to tell you things like- “It is normal“, “Do not speak to anybody about this“, or “It is a part of growing up.” They are going to try and manipulate you into thinking that it is alright or even make you feel guilty when you try and stop them. But never give into it, it is wrong, they are wrong. Push them away, speak up for yourself.
Lastly, do not keep it to yourself. You can talk about it to your friends, family, teachers and colleagues. Do not feel ashamed of what has happened, do not feel guilty and never feel like it was your fault. Whether you are a girl or a boy, who has been sexually assaulted, harassed or abused, do not feel shy or ashamed about it. Please, speak up. There are always people out there ready to help you, ready to listen. Speak up, scream if you have to.