Open Wounds: I Was 10 Years Old, And Didn’t Understand What Was Happening To Me

Posted by Meghna Bajpai in Child Rights, Child Sexual Abuse, Society
January 23, 2018

Trigger Warning: This story contains detailed description of childhood sexual abuse and trauma.

Hi, I am Meghna. I am a student studying in Delhi and after a lot of thinking, I finally decided to share my story with you.

I am one of you and you are one of me. We may be far apart, but the shared nature of what I experienced makes us the same.

Our memories of childhood are funny. There are many tales to tell and yet, we miss out on so many. Our parents tell us numerous embarrassing stories but do we tell them our darker stories?

As I take a walk down memory lane, I feel cold and numb. I have plenty of beautiful memories but there are some that shake me to the very core of my soul. I have kept quiet for so long but not anymore.

It all started when I was in class 5, a kid full of joy and excitement, unaware of the diabolical nature of the world. Who, at such a young age, knew that you could experience things that leave you with dreadful memories for the rest of your life? My innocence became my vulnerability and every part of me felt violated.

It was a fine evening and we all came out of our houses to play and interact. I went to my friend’s house to pick her up as we were getting late for our game. She had a baby sister who I loved being with, and the baby had a helper boy who took care of her in the absence of her parents, as both of them were working.

We often went to her place as it used to be empty and we would get a lot of time for ourselves. Little did we know how dangerous it would get for us. I remember the one particular evening when it all started – when I got the hint that something was wrong but I dismissed my thoughts. I did not understand the severity of the situation that was building up.

I was filling up with insecurities and fear. I was constantly scanning the place, just to see if the helper boy was not around us. As soon as he would show up, I would feel lost. I remember this very vividly – one time, when I was there, I went to use the washroom but I couldn’t lock it as its latch was not in its place – and he knew it! My friends were inside the room and he was just waiting for an opportunity. As I sat inside the washroom, he pushed the door open and said “Oh! Tum ho yahan, mujhe pata nahi tha (Oh! You’re here. I didn’t know that.).” He stood there for a good five minutes, staring at me when I had my pants down.

Right after this, I felt like I had no voice to scream or anyone to tell. While playing in my friend’s room, we would lock the door so that he wouldn’t come in but slowly, both my friends started to include him in our games which involved running and hiding in places. He would only find places close to me to hide. Then, slowly, his hand would reach for my stomach, then my breasts, and then, he would be squeezing them so hard that my tears would fall out.

It became a nightmare for me – that house was like a haunted place. I cannot describe what I was feeling at that time because I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was being sexually abused. I didn’t come out of my house for days and pretended to be unwell. This couldn’t go on for long.

I had to face my worst fears when I came out to play again but nothing changed. He would not miss a chance to touch me. Even for something as simple as passing me the remote, he would first press it against my breast and then give it to me. Every day, I would hear him whispering things like, “Kafi sundar ho tum (You’re quite beautiful).” “Accha lagta hai tumhe dekh kar (It feels good to see you).” “Aise hi rehna tum hamesha (Stay like this forever).” By that last comment, he meant that I should stay quiet and mum so that his little secret didn’t come out.

There was a sense of hollowness in me which I couldn’t fathom. Finally, the day arrived when my mother noticed the change in my behaviour. While I was trying to sleep at night, my mother started to talk to me and told me that I could share anything with her for she would always be my first friend.

Listening to this, I burst into tears. She hugged me, knowing that I was going through something serious. But she thought it must have been something children usually face at that age. She couldn’t even think of what I actually went through until I told her about the events that took place. I remember her running short of breath and fuming in rage. She called up my father and my whole house was up at midnight with anger and disbelief. The next morning, I got to know that the helper boy was behind bars in an army jail.

The reason why I chose to talk about this incident among the many I have experienced is because this was the first time in my life that I faced something this serious. Being a 10-year-old, I could never truly understand what actually happened to me and what all could have happened if I hadn’t shared that information with my mother. My mother played an important role in normalising my behaviour and bringing me back to life.

The flashbacks still hit me hard. The wounds are still fresh and they make me cry sometime. But I have learned to come out of it and be strong. So, to everyone out there who happens to be a survivor in need of venting, come and share your story with us. Pour your heart out and feel better. Remember, we are all in this together. We have been quiet for so long but no more.

We maybe scarred but we are not scared.

You can share your story with us by going here.

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 dial1098@childlineindia.org.in. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.