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My Child-Adulthood

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What abuse has done to me…

I’ve hurt myself and hated myself thinking it was my fault. I thought it had to do with my age, level of maturity, shame and confusion about my sexuality, anger and the mental pain of having to live inside a shell made out of my own negativity. It was followed by bedwetting (which made me sick) and doubt myself.

Soon after my assault, at 15, I started to hate all men who looked similar to ‘him’. I judged every man around me and told myself that everyone wanted to hurt me. I knew it was absurd but I couldn’t stop until now. 

I was abused ever since I can remember, so for me, love sometimes meant a sensual act. I became a girlfriend and a wife much before my adolescence. I never meant to hurt anyone on purpose, but I do regret the hurt I’ve given to people who didn’t deserve it. I justified everything by saying that for me, love meant the sensual emotions and that it wasn’t really sexual. I was being groomed in a way that sex became a part of my childhood, both intentionally and unintentionally.

I started wearing a bra when I was nine years old because my body always felt older than my mind. Some people even thought that I was an adult, even though I was a child going through early puberty. Growing up, I had no confidence at all.  I always felt that I was being used.

I knew about sex at an age when other kids my age hadn’t even learned about their own bodies. Growing up, my only need was to be loved and appreciated.

Is that really too big of a wish to have?

Now I am older than my young broken self. Now my broken heart heals with ‘your’ broken heart. I only feeled when you show me love, appreciate me and treat me like a child. I am childish, but can’t people understand that I am just trying to move on from my broken childhood? I understand that it’s hard to treat me like a child, but I am somebody who got stuck between a broken soul and a sexually active body. I’ve felt so unloved and helpless throughout my life and the only love I knew was false.

I can’t handle my life if someone won’t appreciate me, love me and compliment me like you would to a young child. Some people treated me like their sex toy for supporting their filthy exhibitionism in exchange for so-called love.

When I was in class 10, I was walking to my tuition and somebody pushed me to the ground and I quickly froze. There was a strange touch which I was sure was bad and then I lost track of what happened. Next thing I know was that I was sitting with my teacher at the tuition. I still wonder if it was real or a nightmare in the middle of the day.

And, now I’m stuck. I know I get angry when you raise your voice because I feel that you are trying to dominate me. Many people have dominated me sexually and emotionally. I don’t know myself and neither do I trust myself. I feel that I can be fooled easily.

Whenever I feel that I’m being dominated, I start hating that person to the core. My mind thinks that it will be bad just like my past. I get offensive and agitated quickly. This is my defence mechanism. I should have shown this to my abuser. But since I couldn’t show this attitude in those situations, I started showing it to every person that I thought was trying to hurt me.

In this defensive mode, I would say and do anything to protect myself. I feel in control when I raise my voice and argue with them, just like my dad used to do to me. My parents physically abused me and punished me for the smallest mistakes.

My mom attempted to kill herself many times since she was mentally ill and I had to beg her to not jump into the well. It was traumatic when she told me that I was the reason behind her mental illness. I don’t know why she said that.

Am I really the cause behind my problems?

Sometimes I feel it’s all because I froze when I should have responded and couldn’t say ‘no’ at the right time.

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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