I suggest you get comfy as you read this piece, it might cause triggers for some.
When was the last time that you spoke with your child? I am not talking about, ‘How was your day?’, ‘What was the result of your exam?’ kind of conversation. I am talking about taking time off from your schedule and sitting down with your kid and then talking to them. Why do I ask this, you must wonder? Worry not it will be clear as you read on.
As a kid, I grew up in a loving environment where my parents ensured that I had a comfortable living condition. Like every parent, they ensured I was loved, and they are still always there for me, no matter our differences. As kids, we tend to trust a lot of people, and sometimes this trust can be breached!
A breach of trust has a lot of consequences. And for me, the breach happened when I was abused. As a kid I guess I was cute, but then again, which kid isn’t. Sadly, for me, I was noticed by those who take pleasure in oppressing kids for their deranged pleasures. To suppress a kid is easy, to groom them is easy and to threaten them is far easier than you might think. This is a reality for those who are abused, and the consequences of it can be life-changing. As an adult, who has survived child sexual abuse, I can give a first-hand account of what it means to live with it.
There are a number of factors that affect one’s life; I personally experienced trust issues to the point that I still face difficulties in believing people. I enter a not-so-good headspace where the worst situations are a part of my reality. Anxiety is something that I live with, but the sad part is that I anticipate anxiety and getting back to reality can be a tedious task at times. If this were the only issue, I would be rather peaceful and happy, but then comes the triggers. These are events that cause a flashback of events, and every person experiences them more or less. The difference with a survivor is that the flashbacks are of traumatic events that can cause a lot of pain and grief, over and over again.
Imagine the anguish of a person who is forced to live with the memory of being raped and abused? Apart from the trigger, there is a confused perception of love. For me personally, it was sex. For a very long time, I thought that sex is equal to love, and every time I hooked up with someone it would result in me falling in love with that person. It took a lot of time to overcome this and change my perception. I can go on and on about this because sometimes one event changes life in the most basic sense and it relates to everything that a survivor does.
An adult survivor must keep in mind that triggers and meltdowns will happen. Suicidal thoughts will happen and steer a lot of situations and factors that may otherwise be simple to handle, to a full-blown meltdown. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The point of writing this is not to garner sympathetic reactions, but rather to make your aware that the next time someone opens up about their abuse, be kind to them. Just like you are fighting your demons, we are too. And our demons have faces that can torment and haunt us for a long time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.