I’m a regular 19-year-old, cheerful girl, full of life and energy with a smiling face. But my smile is a camouflage – a defence mechanism which helps me hide my pain.
Born and brought up in a loving family, I, as the youngest child, have received utmost care and pampering until one day I met him. He was our family friend who is a father to two kids, and he used to visit us almost regularly. I used to call him ‘uncle’ – a respectful word we often use to call our elders until one day he did something which made me lose all the respect I once had for him.
It started with inappropriate touching which I initially thought was a mistake on my end in terms of how I interpreted it, until one day, I realised that he kept on repeating it. The bright and happy child in me began sulking. My grades in studies starting coming down along with my confidence, smile, self-respect and myself. It went on for 6 years during which I couldn’t gather up the courage to tell my parents about it. The one who did this to me was happily getting his way with me which drove me towards depression.
Once, I even tried to give up altogether and kill myself until the very moment it hit me that it wasn’t my fault. It was his fault and he deserved to be punished for it. I was a medical student and was preparing for my entrance exams but this whole incident affected me in such a way that I lost my dream. I was done then.
Tired of staying quiet, I decided to inform my mom about the whole incident. I was encouraged to do so because of the constant support and guidance I received from my best friend. She was the one who made me so comfortable that I shared my ‘dirty’ secret with her which I had initially decided to keep with myself. So I finally talked about it with my mom and now begins the worst part, she didn’t believe me. The whole thing was dismissed calling it my ‘misunderstanding’. She even told me that if such a thing happened to me, it might be because my abuser was ‘slightly drunk’, citing that as an excuse for the whole ordeal of 6 years I faced which gave me immense pain.
I had reached my threshold. I was done then with all the injustice and abused I faced. I warned my mom that if I ever saw that person again near me, I would call the authorities and I won’t be quiet. I told her that if he ever tried to abuse me, I would castrate him even of I had to die. Since that day, he has not been near me. The best thing is, he is scared of me; my one look intimidates him. I know that he has not been punished but I have decided that once I do become independent, he would have to pay for his deeds.
The whole point behind narrating this incident was to tell people – don’t be quiet. Such things really mess with a child’s mind. It gives them deep scars which are often unbearable and irreparable. I would request all parents to please believe your children if they ever report to you about such things because if you don’t, there aren’t too many people that will. They are your responsibility. I’m proud that I didn’t give up. Now I’m living a life I chose for myself without any fear.
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.