CSA Survivor Story – 12.
This is very difficult for me. But I really want to share my experience and help you draw pointers on how to be careful and how you can really ensure your child’s safety.
It happened when I was 15. It was horrifying. Lets just say it was million notches above molestation, and one notch short of a rape because there was no penetration but I bore the scars on my body for quite a long time. When I informed my mother she was too shocked to react. My grandmother(mother’s mother) refused to believe me saying that her son never went to prostitutes when he was a single man living in Calcutta, so there is no reason why he would do that to me. My mother kept quiet, and she never spoke up. I could have stripped and showed them the marks, but for some reason I did not do it. What if I had been molested in way, which left no scars/no marks, then? My point was they should believe me because of what I say and not because of what I show. Desperate that somebody should believe me, I told it to my best friend. And by far that has been the biggest mistake of my life. There was this guy she liked and he liked me. I never even took notice of him that way, but it put her off very often. Once he told his friend that he was in love with me, and my best friend couldnt take it, so she decided to take revenge. Once when she hadnt done her maths homework, the teacher had cornered her, she told the teacher that she cant concentrate on work because of the ‘dirty’ things I tell her. I still remember my friends had suddenly completely stopped talking to me. Everyone would whisper in each other’s ears when they saw me, I had no one to share my tiffin with. That day, while I was talking out my history text book for the next class, the peon from principal’s office came with a chit and the teacher asked me to go with her and take my school bag along with her as well. I had previously never been to principal’s office for any reason, neither for good nor for bad. I saw my mother sitting outside and she asked me ‘what have you done?’, I didnt know. When we went inside my mother was informed of what my friends have been saying. My mother never said that it was the truth, instead she kept quiet. I was suspended. Stories were swimming in the corridor that I sleep with boys from the neighbouring schools, people would spit any shit in my name and everyone would be scandalised. I had a nervous breakdown. My dad was working in a different city then and my mother gave him a different version of the story altogether. When his family came down for the summer holidays, they stayed with us. I hated it, I couldnt take it that they were going to stay with us. I refused to communicate with them. His daughter was just a year and a half younger to me and hitherto we had been like soul sisters. One night my grandmother entered my room and started scolding me because I was ignoring them and his daughter was upset about it. I screamed back saying that I couldnt be normal after what had happened. His daughter overheard and it just made things worse. I was asked to apologise to him in front of his family by rubbing my nose on his feet, when I refused to do so, they beat me up. My mother just stood standing there, doing nothing. It did not end there. They brought in some really conservative psychologist who was his wife’s friend to apparently ‘counsel’ me. She said its okay to fantasize about men, but its not ok to affect their personal lives this way. From that I stopped talking. I did not talk to anyone for 6 months. I stopped because nobody understood me. But I never tried committing suicide or doing things to myself. I knew that I would survive it, and I will build myself to be a strong and independent girl. I lost memory of the years when I was 15-17, all I remember from that period till now is that thing. Studies became a chore because my concentration and memory power went for a toss. But I fought it. I have a sound academic record. I am almost done with my pre-phd program and I have got into a good job with an international publishing house. I plan to work for a couple of years and god willing I will earn enough to support a doctorate from abroad.
If you ask me today that if it still matters? Yes it does. I havent forgotten it. I still cant sleep at nights and I have these terrible nightmares. I did not get the counselling I needed because my mother thought its a shameful thing to send her daughter for it regularly. I have fought all of it alone. You know why I told my best friend? Because I just wanted someone to believe and hold me tightly and say that it wasnt my fault and that I will be okay. I never got that hug then and now honestly it does nt matter at all how many times my best friends hug me and say that because I have only wanted my mother to do that. I just wanted her to fight back for me, she never did and it has killed a part of me. Sometimes it pulls me into deep dungeons of depression and I feel that my life has been tough for almost a decade now. And then I realise that no I am not a victim, I am survivor.
My interactions with the other sex has been overshadowed by that experience. I have never been able to go all the way with any man, not because of the lack of opportunity but because I suddenly go off in the middle of it just like that. And what follows then is a day, where I feel so spaced out and so troubled. You can make it out from my face. I am suddenly on my guard and then I even forget why I was so intimate with him in the first place. For me, the case worsened because of what happened in school and then what happened when his wife and daughter found it. Basically everybody thought I was the family slut. I learnt how to deal with life and show people my middle finger early in my life. I am sure one day it will not matter. As of now, it does. It still feels like yesterday because he calls up home every now then, now that its all about my brother’s marriage. I have his children on my facebook friend list, his mother stays with us. How do I leave it behind? I have never been able to talk about to the men I have seriously been with, very openly. I always feel that I will be judged to be someone, who is too frightened, has a painful past in which I wallow, emotionally insecure etc. I am not. It bothers me yes, I havent had sex with anyone yet, but I take it as probably I never really loved any of them. What is love anyway?
So here are a few things I would like to point out —
1. If a survivor is ready to move on, please let them. Dont keep on reminding them what happened to them at some point of their lives. Eventually we have to learn how to share the space with the opposite sex. Reminding someone of the horror, over and over again is not cool at all. Make them strong, dont add to their fragility.
2. Never trust your children alone with anyone. Please be on your guard. Its sad that such things make us cynics, but better safe than sorry.
3. If someone has had a painful experience like mine, where it spanned for more than 2 years, please remember that it takes time to heal. Do not rub on the wounds when it is healing, it’ll only worsen. Its difficult to forget. Your child might need counselling, give it to her while it can still make a difference and do not wait till the end, till you think you have tried your level best.
4. For victims who have been pawed by people who know of their experiences – Dont let it break you, it should only remind you of how strong you are and what you have dealt with early in your life.
5. Its not your mistake. I was 15. I had baby fat, I used to wear trainer bras and I never got my arms waxed and eyebrows threaded, but it happened to me. Its not about how we look, its about what they have in their minds.
6. If you are serious about a guy, this is something you should not hide from him. If it makes him feel you are basically a fucked up female pregnant with insecurity and angst, then he is not the right one. If the relationship is true, then his problems are yours, and yours his, as simple as that.
7. Molestation is molestation, be it pulling you into their laps or sending you obscene messages or exposing you too indecent gestures. Its exploitation, speak to your child before it is too late. I am not a parent, so I really don’t know how it works but we have to drill the sense of right/wrong touch into our children before they step out to live their own lives.
8. Never dismiss what your child tells you, no matter how much he/she has lied about things.