From: A survivor
To: People I meet
“I have a body. I have a voice. I can communicate. I can connect. I can hide my survivor experience and health issues but it is my experience. I don’t want to connect on a false base. I just want to be accepted with this package without being pitied on or isolated.”
I feel heavy and the fact of the matter is that I have been ignoring this weight on me for a while. The weight of connecting with you’ll has built me a path that is more about self-annihilation than self-awareness. I am going through life, insecure about my connections and communication. I already have had my share of practical insecurities.
I wish to be treated as an ordinary friend. My experience is part of my past. It is not me. I know I face mental health issues and I talk about them, but I don’t want to be treated differently just because I had a different experience or a different childhood. It is my experience. I don’t want to connect on a false base.
I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want people controlling my life, like my family did, with violence, telling me I am capable of nothing because I have mental health issues or because I am a child sexual abuse survivor. My mother doesn’t want to share or talk about my experience.
I have been noticing this for a while now, that no matter what I do or not do, I will be treated differently because I am a survivor of violence. I have to live with this fact and not blame myself just because others don’t want to connect with someone who has faced violence in the past.
I just want to say to you’ll that it is mine to deal with. I am dealing with it. It is not your struggle. But every time someone treats me like I know nothing, every time you pity me, please remember that pity means nothing to someone who has fought such a difficult battle on their own. Survivors are brave and strong.
Your pity makes no contribution to my life. Treat me differently, isolate me, that’s what I get for living with something that was also a “gift” from another person in the first place. My experience does not define me. But every time you treat me differently, you want me to consider that it does.
I have a body. I have a voice. I can communicate. I can connect. Survivors have a body, they have a voice. Stop making them invisible. Stop propagating victim culture. Stop “speaking on their behalf”. They have been wronged by someone within our community. Ask them what they need to heal. Provide them with resources, space and platforms. Support them. They don’t need your pity, they need acknowledgement from the community that they have been wronged.
Survivors come from different experiences of violence. I use the term for the ones who face violence perpetrated on their bodies, their homes, their families, their communities, their emotional well-being, their body positivity, their choices to love, to marry and the list goes on.
Acknowledge us, hear us.
Listen, ask and support.
Heal the broken connections.
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.