This is a long story, but I’d appreciate it if you stuck with me till the end.
I was about four-years-old when my mom announced that she was pregnant, and I was going to have a little brother or sister to play with. I was overjoyed. I mean, most of my classmates had siblings, and I kind of felt left out since I had none. So, I was really looking forward to this.
My brother and I have been really close ever since he was born. We played together, building forts out of cushions and blankets. We made our stuffed toys talk and fight each other. We even fought a lot of times, but we always made up.
Fast forward to 2012. He was 12, and I was 16. I was getting ready to go for a sleepover with my friends. I finished my bath and stepped out into the bedroom (whose door I had locked before I even started my bath) with my towel wrapped around me.
I have really sharp eyesight, but I thought it was my imagination when I thought I saw something move through the peephole of the bedroom door. I looked closer. I saw an eye. It was him. I think he noticed that I saw him looking at me so he quickly disappeared. I was a little shaken up by that. I thought I’d change into my outfit and then talk to him about it.
After I got dressed, I first went to get some water. When I got back, I saw that he was now in my bedroom, looking at something on his phone. I asked him what he was looking at. His face went white. I asked him if it was a video of me. He didn’t answer. He fled to the other room and locked the door.
I completely lost it and started screaming at him, calling him things I cannot repeat now, trying to force the door open. I tried ramming my shoulder into it but it wouldn’t budge. I broke down crying, from the feeling of betrayal and from the shoulder pain. The sleepover, that I’d been looking forward to for months, was ruined.
This was the first incident. The second time, I looked through his phone when he accidentally left it unlocked and found a video of me. I was fully clothed, but I was bending over a little to paint something. You couldn’t see much. But he had recorded it.
I was disgusted. I told mom about it. She was furious. She talked to him for two hours about how he should respect women. He cried and said he was sorry. She believed him.
I wish she hadn’t.
I feel like my mother’s leniency only emboldened him further, as five months later, I found that he’d drilled a hole in my bathroom door. Luckily I spotted it as soon as he did it. I was disgusted. I told my parents again, but every time I tell them, all they do is shout at him for a day and then ask me about three days later whether I’d forgiven him yet or not.
I don’t understand why they aren’t more strict with him. Is it because he’s a boy? I don’t understand why they don’t even consider how these incidents must have affected me mentally. Now, I suffer from paranoia and anxiety, but I don’t tell anyone.
I don’t feel safe in my own home. I can’t take a bath or change my clothes without hysterically looking all over the bathroom for phone cameras or a hole in the wall that he can see through. I cry myself to sleep at night, thinking about him and how I feel disgusted at his actions. I think about how he isn’t the sweet little brother I thought he was. I think about how every rakhi tied at Raksha Bandhan is a lie.
If a stranger had done this to me, he would’ve been arrested by now. So why is there partiality when it’s a member of the family? A crime is a crime, doesn’t matter who committed it.
I don’t know why I’m sharing this story. I think it’s partly because I hope that sharing it with someone will make me feel a tiny bit better about this whole mess. Maybe, I’m sharing it because I want people to realize that women will feel victimized wherever they go, as long as there are guys like this out there.
If my brother did this to me, his sister, who knows what he might do to other women when he grows up.
I am sick and tired of being leered at in public, molested in trains and buses, but the fact that something like this has made me uncomfortable in the sanctity of my own home makes me realize that no woman is ever safe, doesn’t matter where she is. It makes me wonder whether women are human beings or just soulless bodies, meant for the pleasure of men. Aren’t we allowed to have lives of our own? Dreams of our own? Without men like him coming to strip us of our faith in humanity? Our sanity? Our lives?
Even if this was just a phase that my brother is going through, it has scarred me for life. I’ve even considered self-harm to distract myself from the pain I feel every time I see his face, but I haven’t cut myself. I’ve stayed strong. For now.
To all men: please make it stop. I don’t know what it is that makes you rape or molest, or what makes you feel like you have the right to snatch away the freedom of a soul but, please. I’ve had enough. Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop.