Wish it were a story – Anonymous

I remember it like it was yesterday. It is now more than 30 years ago that he touched me and yet it seems like it was not too long ago. There I was – a little girl, around eight, happy, wide-eyed and innocent, the youngest child in the house, the only daughter. I remember being a thorough extrovert; I just loved talking to people, playing with the other kids in the building, playing dress-up in sarees and house-house and other games, like most girls that age. All was well, until one day, my uncle, my mother’s older brother decided to let his sick mind take the better of him and touch me. It happened so casually and thereafter, so many times… I started dreading those visits that he would make. He worked in the Central Government and was a very senior official which meant that he would travel often and frequently, visit and stay with us. Appa and he would share a drink, they’d make me sing (in our culture, parents take pride in ensuring that their daughters learn some art form and I learned Carnatic vocal),and then after dinner, he’d tell Appa-Amma, (who’d willingly give up their bedroom for him) to let me sleep with him. And then he’d kiss me on my mouth, thrusting his thick, alcohol-ridden slobbery tongue in my mouth, squeeze my breasts, touch me between my legs while I lay there alone, scared, wondering what I had done to deserve this. It just did not feel right to my little mind. Why was he doing this in the night when everyone was asleep? If it was right, he’d have done it in this in broad daylight, right? Why did my parents let me sleep in a room with him, when he was known to have had an incestuous relationship with his own blood sister? He didn’t make me promise him to not tell anyone. He didn’t threaten me. And yet… The visits kept happening. The abuse kept going on. And I kept feeling scared and confused. I remember going to school and looking at other kids, wondering if they were not going through “such stuff”. What did I do wrong? Why me??

I just didn’t know who to go and talk to. I guess somewhere along the way, I’d decided that this was going to be my deep dark secret. The abuse kept happening on various occasions for several years, until one day, around five years later, we’d heard that he’d died. I was in Class 8 and had an older cousin sister who lived with us. I told her everything, even though I was afraid how Amma would respond. Amma was not a demonstrative or articulate person and when she finally heard, all she said was, “What has happened has happened. It is over” – no hugs, no reassurances, no apology, nothing. To my then 13 year old mind, this was terribly confusing. The staggering negative message that I got from this was that as far as men were concerned, “You exist to please me” seemed to be their outlook towards women. It took me so many years to understand that this was not so and to consciously work towards saying “No”.

Many years later I asked Amma, why she did not hug me back then, when I needed it the most? Why did she let me sleep with an older brother who had not spared his own blood sister and had apparently raped her? Why did she not tell me that no one should touch me and God forbid if they did, that I should scream for help, run and tell her immediately? I often wonder, how different would my life have been, had I not been sexually abused for years? I guess I’ll never know the answer to that.

Today, I am blessed with two beautiful twin boys who are eight. Every time I read or hear of sexual abuse, I hope and pray that my boys never ever fall victim to a predator. Even as I write this and look at them walk around innocently, I want to hold them tight and protect them always. My younger, more inquisitive son looked at the screen and asked me if I was writing a life-story because he read the words “Amma” and “cry”. I told him I was writing something.  How I wished it was just another story that I was writing and not my own.

As I conclude, I thank God for blessing me with such beautiful children. I desperately and fervently hope and pray – please God, don’t ever let my boys have to deal with what I had to when I was young and helpless. Please let them have a normal childhood without having to deal with any kind of abuse. Please?