Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse
“When I was in the 3rd grade, my dad’s friend would come over to play chess with him. Sometimes, dad would come home late so his friend would wait in the lawn; my mom would make me serve him tea. It used to happen then– he would put his hands down my pants and make me touch his private part. I just thought it was a game that made me uncomfortable.
This one time, I was visiting a relative’s house, but had to return home for an exam, so mom sent him to pick me up– it happened again on the way back home. That night, I told my mom to never send him to pick me up. When she asked why, I said he made me uncomfortable.
I was in the 4th grade when this happened and wasn’t able to articulate myself well. But that was the last time I saw him. Years later, when I asked my parents why they didn’t confront him, they said that I wasn’t able to explain what had happened. But they knew he made me uncomfortable, and that was enough.
I didn’t understand the gravity of it all until I was in the 11th grade. I started researching sexual predators and why they abuse others so I could try and justify his actions– but I couldn’t find an excuse for why he molested me. My mental health deteriorated– I’d break down out of nowhere.
It didn’t stop there. During my first year of college, I was feeding a stray dog outside campus with a friend. Suddenly, my friend said there was a man masturbating behind me. Terrified, we both ran to campus as he chased us. I decided to fly home the next day. Before that, I tried to file a police complaint against him, but the cops justified his actions saying, ‘What if he was mentally unstable?’
My parents helped me find a psychologist– I was diagnosed with depression and PTSD, and began hallucinating around 2-3 times a day. I was put on medication; my parents really tried to understand what I was going through, but were unable to. My mental health plummeted; I overdosed on my medicines and was in the ICU for three days.
That’s when the seriousness sank in, but my parents didn’t flinch. They even took me on a trip to Jaipur to help me recoup. Eventually I had to go back to Noida for college, I didn’t stay in a hostel– mom insisted on staying with me for 3 months.
Being a victim of sexual assault and the trauma after, I realised that I wanted to educate students about this. So, I initiated a campaign called ‘Break the Silence’ and gave talks at schools, orphanages and universities all over. Eventually, I want to grow ‘Break the Silence’ into an NGO.
It’s been three years since my diagnosis and I’m still seeking therapy to get better; I have to admit that I’ve come a long way since. I’m studying law, and want to get involved in policy making so I can make a difference at the grassroot level. I can’t let another child go through what I did, not knowing what’s happening to them; not knowing how to deal with it. That cycle needs to end with me.”
Story courtesy: Humans of Bombay.