CSA Survivor Story – 35.

The Sympathy Seeker..
Harish Iyer

I remember the day when my ship had capsized and I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.  The devil that was all around me, and the deep blue sea within me. And guess what, I did not know how to swim. Struggling, I created ripples in the water. And all that the world could see is that someone was screaming… yelling, so barmy… seeking attention famously.  I held on to anything afloat – but the things that were floating were nothing but an illusion. I went deep, so deep in the trenches of pain that I could hardly comprehend what I was feeling. Morose, I wilted like the withered petals of a rose.

I was just out of a trauma of child sexual abuse. Something that I had been experiencing for the past 11 years. I was out of it. The silence and the “want” to speak had been heating up lava inside me. I wanted to get it off my system. I had spent years wanting to speak, and now all i wanted, was a ear to hear.

I spoke. I spoke. And I spoke. People were compassionate with me. Some tapped me  on my back for having found the courage to speak. Some simply cried bucket full of tears with me. I felt nice. I felt nice because I found someone to hear me out. My emotional scars were diminishing i thought. I started speaking – up and about about my abuse. About the fact that I was just merely at a merry age of 7, when i was abused. I was mauled. Clawed. And that I had no language to protest what I detest. I couldn’t object to the objects that were inserted in me. That I cried just once, and felt the pain just once.. It was that first time, and after that, my emotions had numbed and i turned dumb to the pain. At just the age of 7. I knew the taste of semen.

I know what you must be thinking while you are reading this. Some of you must have shut your screens in absolute horror. And the others, must be thinking, and many would have the question at the tip of their tongue but not have the exact choice of  words or courage to ask me… their concern is genuine, and there are some who have been up-straight-insulting.

“To shout, why you didn’t dare?” – o! yaah, people have asked me this, and so poetically, funnily, mockingly. Rhymes, isn’t it? Yes, one can but not deny the rhyme.

But had they only known what it means to be sodomised at the tender age of 7. Something that continued till I reached 18. In school, i used to get up from my bench as my rear used to hurt. And get reprimanded by the teacher. I went to the loo, only when there were none inside. Kidney bursts and private emotional outbursts that happened within me. I tried telling mom about the bleeding, and mom had no clue… she said  “mangoes! you eat too many mangoes… and that creates heat”… I did not have the power of language then to tell her that “heat” it was, but not mine, someone elses that I was satisfying. And that, in the bargain, i was bleeding.

By the time I grew up, i turned from a boy-whore to a man-whore. Satisfying every sexual need, many sadomasochistic experiments. Experiments that i was the guinea pig for. Did I have a choice? YES!… Did I muster the courage to exercise the choice? NO! Did I share it with anyone? YES.

I confided in a friend about my “history” and he ensured that everyone geographically close and beyond knew about it. Soon, i had college walls adorned with graffiti that read “for gay sex contact harish”. When i sat on my bench, it had chalk marks written “fag”. People spoke about me- in front of me spoke so loudly that I could hear “dont talk to him, he sluts around with his uncle”. I contemplated suicide. I tried. I failed.

I had no friend. And then, I found one. A four legged pal called – Jimmy. I spoke to him. Loud and Aloud. I spoke to him. And he licked my tears. He understood every emotion of mine. And acknowledged me without judging me. That real me.

This gave me the courage. Courage to speak up for animal rights. Slowly, i started speaking up. From animal rights to human rights to my rights… i transited.  The courage to say NO. And all that it took, was a kick and loud and stern NO to stop the abuse. The abuse that lasted for 11 years.

Did my struggle end then? Not really! It was then that it started. I waged a war against the ones who violated a child’s right to be a child. I couldn’t stop offenders in this country that had no law against child sexual abuse. I could create awareness though. Make teachers,  parents and children aware about “good touch and bad touch”. And form a support system for them, should they need to speak. I started receiving counseling calls. I told them that I wasn’t qualified to counsel. But I am good to be a friend who listens. The goodness of Jimmy, and that attribute of his to listen without judging is what lived in me even after he died. A dog taught me something that even god could not.

I spoke at many forums. Openly. Even about my sexuality – which is gay. Because there is this common perception that if you are abused as a child by a member of your own gender you “turn” gay. I believe, that there are two things – sexuality and sexual habits. Sexuality is innate, and sexual habits could be born out of experiences. I did have  consensual sex with a woman. It was a one night stand, but it wouldn’t stand. (LOL).. I could either have “experimented” with  a wife as a dummy, or stood up for my sexuality. I chose the latter. I am a gay man. And I am in love with a lovely man. That’s what I am. My identity.

As I spoke about abuse. There were several calls I attended to. Just that, I cant share about that openly here. And may be, that gave people a chance to believe that I overdo things. And my very close friends, and family too, have said nasty things “do you need to do this” asks someone. “O Do you know people see you as a sympathy seeking bas!@rd” says another. And now that I have two films and a book that i underway inspired by my life, it gives them even more the reason to speak and presume that “I am doing this for my self publicity” or that i cringe too much and “cling tosympathy”.

Does it hurt me? Yes! when it comes from people who matter to me, it does. Do I mourn and cry about it? Yes I do. Do I love them anyway? YES.

One day, they would understand. That it takes a lot of self-talk, self-belief to share your dirtiest secret. And not that it is… but  that even if it was to market myself. What’s wrong? It eventually wakes up the conscience of several souls and magically helps people to heal. The sympathy seeker – me, does wake up, and speak up because I know.

“Nothing but helps a bleeding heart, than a heart that has healed. “