CSA Survivor Story – 3.
My earliest memory of being sexually abused as a child dates back to the time when I was 8 years old. Those were days when auto rickshaws did not ply in the small town Gobichettipalayam where my grandfather lived. We had gone there on a vacation and were enjoying ourselves to the core with other cousins who had also come there for their vacations too. It was customary to send for a horse driven carriage when the ladies of the house visited relatives or friends. The carriage driver was known to us and was regularly sent for. As children we would either sit next to the carriage driver in front or at the rear end with our feet dangling outside. The ladies would sit in the middle facing each other. The driver was an old man, perhaps older than my grandpa. My cousin and I were sitting next to him one on each side. I suddenly found him reaching for my privates. I thought that it was perhaps an accidental touch and tried to wriggle away from him. Till today I can never forget his look that I could not interpret then but understood much later. His smile was wicked and lecherous. My mother and aunts were all there talking among themselves oblivious of what I was going through. I could not exactly understand much of what was going on. I knew that he was up to some mischief and often wondered if he did the same thing with other children in the family. I never ever found out but I took care never again to sit by his side. I somehow could not bring myself to talk about it to anyone including my mother. Luckily this was the only incidence of child sex abuse that I personally experienced.
Years later a friend told me that she would sleep next to her paternal grandfather on a cot as a child of four. Her grandmother would sleep on a mat on the floor. One night she woke up and realized that her granddad was holding her hand and gratifying himself by making her stroke his p….s. She was only 4 years old but she realized that he was making her do something very wrong. She refused to sleep by his side after that and her grandfather was never the same to her after that. He found fault with every thing she did and called her arrogant and what not. She again never ever told anyone in the family about it.
It seems an acquaintance of mine had homosexual inclinations. He would trouble unsuspecting nephews in their pre teens. I heard of his tendency much later when one of his victims – now an adult – warned his uncle to never ever leave his 10 year old son alone in his company citing the child sex abuse that he went through as the reason.
Yes these incidents go unreported but they happen all the same. The abusers are usually people well-known to the unsuspecting victims. It is perhaps important to encourage children to open up and report them as and when they happen. Mothers at times hush their children up if they come to know of it. They think that reporting such incidents involving an elderly relative may bring dishonor to the family. I recall an incident when an acquaintance who had retired from services insisted that a friend’s 8 year old daughter accompany him to his room and the girl was refusing to go with him.
“Let these ladies chat among themselves. Come to my room I’ll show you some pictures” he said.
The mother did not sense anything wrong and encouraged her daughter to go with him. But I did and suggested that we leave immediately saying that I had to attend to some important work at home. Since I had driven them down the group had no option but to leave. I somehow could not bring myself to warn the mother not knowing how she might react. My suspicion was confirmed later when another neighbor spoke of the man’s tendency to carry young girls and fondle them asking them to kiss him on his lips and so on. She said that she took care to be present when her own daughter played with other children. According to her this particular man would always hover around and trouble unsuspecting children.
In my opinion, we as a society ought to be more watchful and report such incidences even at the cost of losing the good will of people. They are bound to understand in good time and be encouraged to stand up against sexual abuse of young children.