CSA Survivor Story – 20

 I sometimes wonder how many Indians have endured sexual abuse from their fathers. It seems that I’m reading that neighbors, family friends, cousins, servants, and uncles have been the main perpetrator.  What about those who were hurt by the man that was supposed to protect and nurture them?

My Indian family looked like anyone else on the outside.  We lived in a semi-affluent neighborhood. My parents sent me to the best schools.  My dad was your stereotypical educated engineer and made good money.   The rest of his family was also very wealthy and successful.  My parents had preached Indian values and felt that they were superior to the”loose and corrupt” Westerners.  Aside from that, my parents were viewed as nice, friendly, caring and easy-going people. I was constantly told how sweet my parents were and how lucky I must be.

When I turned 12, my dad started to sexually abuse me.  I was being bullied in middleschool by the white kids and I wasn’t getting along with the rest of my family members.  I was often left alone at home when my mom and brothers worked.  My dad started to act unusually nice by saying that I can tell him anything. He knew I was feeling suicidal from the bullying, and he wanted to show me “the good things that God gave us.”   He started to show me porn, which then lead to touching and sexual talk. He told me that I had to learn sex, or that my husband will run away from me.  The next thing I know I’m being manipulated into manual stimulation of the genitals and oral sex.  YUCK! With my own dad?  I was so overwhelmed, scared, disgusted and confused.  The worst part of it all was that my body had physically responded to the touch.  I was mad at myself and mad at my body.  What if someone found out? They would think I’m so gross and the kids would make fun of me more.  My dad had implied that I had to meet his sexual needs, and I felt helpless.  I would lock my doors at night, but my dad still found a way to get in. He would unlock my door with a screwdriver while my mom and brothers were sleeping.

While I didn’t have the maturity or mental capacity to fully understand what was being done to me, my behavior and actions were crying for help to others.  At 12, I had developed massive anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, which later turned into a misunderstood illness called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I hated how I looked so much to the point where I was too scared to look in the mirror.  I couldn’t leave the house. I couldn’t get out of bed.  I had panic attacks in class. My disorder even made it hard for me to hold a regular job. In my adult years, how the hell was I supposed to move out from my abusive home? I couldn’t even function.

At 13, I had started to also act very provocative and sexualized.  After all, aren’t sexually abused kids taught that sex is what gets you love and validation? Indian parents may think white kids are sex-crazed, but I had more sexual knowledge than most of white kids at my school.  My behavior caused the bullying at my school to get worse. I was tortured more by the boys than the girls.    There are times when I thought the bullies were worse than my sexual abuser. I don’t even know how I survived life in 8th grade. I wasn’t safe at home or at school, and none of the adults around me bothered to intervene. I guess it’s easier for others to look the other way.

Even though I was being bullied for being sexual, I still used sex to run away from pain.   This had obviously got me a bad reputation in the Indian community. Again, young Indian and Pakistani American boys shamed me more than the girls.   But, sexual obsessions and attention from others is what helped me deal with the deep-seated feeling of being disgusting, ugly and worthless from the abuse I endured.    Moreover, the sexual abuse probably lead me to think I was only good for sex.

My Indian parents were against therapy for the most part. I remember begging them to take me though.  I was sick of going through mental hell every day.  My parents did eventually take me to therapists, but they took me to the ones that weren’t competent.   I was showing classic signs of a sexually abused child, but these so-called therapists didn’t mention anything nor did I find them helpful when it came to addressing my mental health issues.  Maybe the therapists were fooled by my parents’ wealthy status and charm.  Luckily, I did find a competent therapist in my adult years.

The sexual abuse did stop from my dad at 14, BUT I still would catch my dad leering at me and making me hug him throughout the years.   At age 19, he had given me porn.  I told him to go away, but I think he was trying to lure me into having sex with him again.  When I was 12, I remember him saying “When you’re in college, we can keep doing this.”

I kept the abuse a secret, because I was so ashamed and grossed out. What if somebody would blame me for “going along” with the abuse? I’ve heard ignorant people say “It’s not really abuse if you didn’t say no or fight back.”   Not to mention that my dad was the main provider for the family, and my mom literally worshipped the ground that my dad walked on. All of us were financially dependent on him.  What would we do without him?    I didn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings either. She already had her own problems.

But, ignoring my abuse led me to choose abusive boyfriends and manipulative friends that seemed worse than my abusive parents.  I crumbled down the path of self-destructive and re-victimization that added on to my child sexual abuse.  Overall, I was an easy target for predators. I accepted poor treatment from others, because that was the only way of living that I knew.

I had repetitively complained to my mom about my dad looking at my breasts and legs.  I told her “Do I have to hug him? I just feel weird.”   She dismissed it and said that he’s innocent.  At age 23, I had told her EVERYTHING.  How he fingered me, how he made me touch him, how he showed me porn, and how he told me that I had to learn sex from him.  She believed me, but wanted me to forget about it.  Until this day, she wants to stay with him. She feels she has nowhere to go.   Just because she wants to stay with my dad doesn’t mean I have to though.

Finishing my masters degree and getting a job out of state is what helped me escape from my toxic family. It’s a myth that the safest place for a child is their home. The ones who need to leave home the most have the least resources to do so.  I rode through a long hard road out of hell, but I’m where I want to be right now. Independent, safe,  in a loving and healthy relationship and working my butt off to recover.   I still have my days where the memories of the abuse is too much, but I try to get through it.

The relationship with my dad is civil, as he knows I’m strong enough to not take his crap.   I had made it clear that my dad will not look at my body parts, make me hug him, make sexual comments or spend time alone with my future kids.  Pedophiles are cowards in reality. They choose kids, because kids are vulnerable.