This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jigyasa's Guide to Befriending Life. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“I Was Raped By The Domestic Worker When I Was 4 And My Aunt Defended Him”

More from Jigyasa's Guide to Befriending Life

*Trigger Warning: Mention Of Rape*

*An anonymous account of a client*

I was 4. Merely a kid, I was. Or that is what people say or assume about age. I wasn’t supposed to be pushed upon to hold expectations of what the world holds out there. Or what it means to “be” according to gender, caste or religion. I was a new creature, learning and developing gradually.

But I guess it wasn’t something he understood—the ruthless monster.

home courtyard
Representative Image.

It was back in 1998; I lived in a joint family. While Indian households were spending their time adjusting to the time of transition, the country was facing the global phenomenon of globalisation and its associated social, financial and political factors. The establishments developing were now weak and mostly on shaky grounds of social taboos, stereotypes, etc.

Families were drifting apart; they were compartmentalising and apparently changing rapidly in 360 degrees in some structures. For instance, in some families, both males and females were equally employed. To support unbalanced structures and to differentiate roles of members, hiring help had become quite a trend. It also was a mark to live the luxuries and mark a status statement.

My family had a plethora of characters in it. Some had weird sides to them, some were followers of trends and some carried a descent literature outlook to life.

Following the marriage, my aunt used much of her skills to rework the family and its structure in her favour. A typical situation of an Indian household. She couldn’t afford to miss anything, which was a trend. Sometimes, she spoke boldly of it, and sometimes it happened in the dark or behind the doors of her room.

To stay much in trend with associates of my uncle, she employed a new domestic worker. Having delivered a son to the family, she expected the family to respect her needs. The domestic worker was to take care of the newly born son of hers and do small errands for the family.

We were two girls, daughters of the other two brothers in the family. Being of a similar age, we most often used to spend time playing and watching TV together.

Having a three-floored house with an office attached to the house, we were always under the eye of some adult of the family. It was thought to be safe and protected that way. Being kids, we sometimes rebelled against it. At that age, it gave a sense of attacking our private space.

Representative Image.

But then, one day, things went a different way than usual. Everything changed after that. That day seemed to challenge everything that existed in that house. It was 8:30 p.m. on a regular working day. My elder aunt had run out of some spice required while cooking. She had to rush to the market to get the same.

As per the rules, we had to go up to my room if no elder was there on the ground floor. But things didn’t go as they were supposed to. That day, the moment she left, the domestic worker found his red carpet. He set the tone by tricking us into playing some new game. This way, he locked me into a room with him. And he raped me.

I wasn’t liking what he was doing; I rebelled it. I shouted. My sister tried helping; she banged the door from outside. Finally, when the voices went loud, he let me free. I ran to my mom immediately. I was scared, startled and shocked. I didn’t know what to react, how to react. My mother seemed shattered from her face when I told her what happened.

Everyone was called. My dad slapped him, asked him about what happened. He lied and my aunt defended him. The mouth battle turned into slaps to beating. He was thrown out. From that day, our household became quiet. The commotion had died down for several days, months and years. The family seemed scattered all over.

For me, without much understanding at that time to be an advocate now, things took a sharp turn. A hole was pierced that day and it still exists. The pain doesn’t go. I feel empty the whole time. Feel deprived for days of energy, commitment, trust. I fail to adjust to situations that require a human touch. I have lost the battle which I never fought.

Silhouette Woman
Representative Image.

An honest account of most families considered sophisticated and cultured in the eyes of many like them and an ideal for those below them, setting goals to be reached. But these patterns of discomfort cultivated rules and regulations regarding who is right, who is wrong, who should speak, who should be quiet, who is educated, which profession is privileged and who is the leader to be followed.

This idea of internal misogyny leads to establishing the patriarchy for years and generations together.

While I don’t deny men are victims too, what about women who have been challenged at every moment of their life? Whether they are empowered or not doesn’t matter much. But what matters most is the stratification society should be stuck to and adhere to and contradicting it can lead to a distressing and painful life.

This leading to the foreground for mental health issues to be born right there and never leaving the body because the fear that the affected should not be wrong or will be put off to human garbage is so strong.

Thus, what really needs to be questioned is the pressure of education we have let exist in society, allowing fishes, cats, rats and birds to set on a race to the top of the tree to prove that they are worthy. Has it led us somewhere? When after a point, each has to find their habitat to grow. But by that time, the person has lost the self-efficacy, confidence and esteem to grow and foster.

Why not look for modifications and reformations and rehab people with skills to use immediate resources to build the community which defines more belongingness, need identification than need resolution, IEC (Information, Education and Communication) to help them be enlightened and powered to define decisions and consequences than building a world on instructed manuals.

From a personal point of view, I suffered but couldn’t fight my battle until now, when I have found my habitat and skills to foster upon. Now, I want to initiate a pond for those like me to help them find their meaning, purpose, etc.

Featured Image via pxfuel

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.

You must be to comment.

More from Jigyasa's Guide to Befriending Life

Similar Posts

By Ishita Jain

By Shareerspeak

By Mrittika Mallick

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below