I am a girl who grew up in a metropolitan city till class 12. After that, I went to a smaller city to pursue my B.Sc. It was hard and lonely. I had left all my friends and my life behind. Being the only child, I missed my parents. In the University, people judged me for wearing jeans, being open minded and enjoying discussions on politics and history. I was ‘unfeminine’. It does seem silly but as a 17-year-old, being called a ‘boy’ and ‘slut’ hurt. Most guys in my college assumed I’d sleep with anyone.
This was when I had a classmate who was tall, sweet, kind, understanding and relatively handsome. Seems amazing, right? When he asked me out, he seemed like the greatest guy. In three months, I was in love and dreaming of my wedding with him. For the first two years, everything was great. On one of my trips back home, my friends pointed out that I wasn’t recognisable anymore. It made me laugh. I slowly realised that they were right. I had sacrificed everything that had made me. I had stopped wearing jeans and had started wearing salwar. I had stopped hanging out with my guy friends and stopped going to the beach at night with my roommates. Only because my boyfriend didn’t like it. It made me realise that I had been unhappy throughout.
I wanted to find myself again. I started reverting back to how I was. I started wearing jeans and hanging out with friends. That’s when the beatings started. The man I loved, wanted to marry and have babies with was slapping me in public. He was calling me a whore. I landed in the hospital multiple times with sprains and bruises. I got a swollen nose two times. My forearms were slashed with a blade four times.
It’s not the physical pain that bothered me. Being involved in sports, I wasn’t unfamiliar with pain and injury. The emotional aspect destroyed me. The fact that someone I loved could physically assault me. What I’m most ashamed of is that I stayed for three years with him after the abuse began, because of love. I was loyal to a person who was sleeping with another girl without my knowledge and inflicting violence on me. The trauma makes me panic even after two years.
I don’t write this to tell people about my pain. I hope to encourage someone who is suffering abuse and domestic violence to find the courage to get out. To tell every girl that you’re entitled to be yourself and not be subjected to ridicule by those who adhere to gender stereotypes.