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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Coming to Terms with my Sexual Abuse.

During the period of my sexual abuse, more than anything else, I was confused. I saw two entirely different sides of my abusers - one that was friendly and caring, in front of everyone else; and the other one that was monstrous when they were alone with me.  

two faces of my abusers

To pretend that it never happened came naturally to me. I did everything in my power to hide it, to save the people who had been destroying me.
Throughout the years, there was one thing that remained common to every incident of my sexual abuse. After it was over, I used to convince myself that whatever happened was just in my head.
And even if it didn’t, I had to forget what happened because it must have been a mistake.
And even if it wasn’t, I was the one responsible for what happened.
I used to convince myself that my life was perfectly fine and my abusers were considerate people. My stoical attitude harmed no one else but me.
Silence is not always golden.


Several situations came up after the period of abuse was over when I could’ve spoken up but I didn’t.

After the telecast of an episode on Child Sexual Abuse on an Indian talk show "Satyamev Jayate", I remember my mother asking me if I had ever been through something similar. I didn’t tell her.

In the end of the year 2013, I developed an inexplicable illness. One of the doctors I was receiving treatment from, asked me if I was under some kind of mental stress. In the back of my mind, I knew what it was, but I wasn’t ready to admit it. I wasn’t ready to admit to myself that something in the past could affect me then.

In July 2014, while everything in my life was apparently going fine, I had bouts of depression. Insomnia, fatigue, suicidal thoughts and the constant low-phase, everything made me wonder if I was insane. When some close friends of mine noticed my changed behavior, I couldn’t gather an explanation. There was an unending frustration because I wasn’t ready to admit the truth to myself, let alone anyone else. I kept questioning myself why I was feeling horrible about my life when things were going as they were supposed to.
For the first time then, I acknowledged the possibility of the reason behind this phase. And when I did, it terrified me. I tried to run away from the inevitable by self-harming and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

break the silence of sexual abuse

The time when I actually came out of the denial mode was in September 2014 and it was in an unexpected manner.

Those days, my exams were going on and meanwhile I was reading ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ to take a break from the tedious study routine. 
As I read how the protagonist of the book realized in his teenage about the sexual abuse done by an aunt in his childhood, somehow the images of my sexual abuse started flooding my mind. I researched all about sexual abuse and rape on the internet that evening, totally ignoring the fact that I had my chemistry exam the following day. 
At the end of the day, I finally told myself that I had been sexually abused and raped. It was difficult to admit, to say the least. It was overwhelming. My mind was full of questions and thoughts, but it had to wait. 

While taking the exam, the stress of not having studied much added to the chaos that was already present in my mind. During the exam, I went numb. For a while,  I was unable to realize what was going on with me. Obviously, I spoiled the exam. That was when everything made sense. That was when I realized that something had to be done about it.
I wasn’t willing to share it with any of my friends, so I decided to seek help online. I emailed Childline India and we corresponded for a few days through email.

Then one day, I received a call from Ishita didi, who worked at Childline. She suggested I talk to a counselor. The whole idea made me feel uncomfortable. I discounted my pain and repeatedly told myself that I didn’t need a counselor. On the other hand, I felt trapped, and felt an immense need to liberate myself from the shackles of this agony.
That day, I mustered up all the courage I had and told her that I was ready, but I’d prefer a female counselor. The next day, I got to know that the female counselor she was in contact with was indisposed. So, she suggested I go to Sushant and told me about him. The mere fact that he was male and seventy five years old made me extremely uncomfortable. I thought that I was bothering Ishita didi too much and so I told her that I’d talk to him. I reluctantly called him. His friendly gestures seemed like an opportunity to me to spit out the poison I’d been holding in since years. I chose to meet him in person.

On my way to his place, my mind was full of apprehensions but somehow my gut feeling was good about him. I was extremely nervous when I entered his house. The fact that he lived alone added to my fears. But fifteen minutes into our interaction, I felt extremely comfortable and safe and I unraveled things I hadn’t even admitted to myself till then. As I have mentioned earlier, life hasn’t been the same since then.

I believe that coming to terms with my abuse was the first and the biggest step towards my healing.


After starting this blog, I have been contacted by many friends, acquaintances and strangers, sharing how they have been sexually abused too, but haven’t addressed the abuse yet. Most of them also shared the damage the abuse had left them with.

I know people who took decades to come to terms with their abuse, and people who did it immediately after the abuse. Although in both the cases, it was the most important step. All the people who have healed to a great extent, or have made the choice to move forward have one thing in common: they have come out of the denial mode. There's no perfect time to exit the denial mode. It's never too late. In fact, Sushant, the man who helped me heal, came to terms with his sexual abuse at the age of 60!

We have been conditioned right from the childhood not to cry. Naturally, any expression of pain is considered a sign of weakness by most of us. As a result, we ignorantly keep on piling up the emotional baggage until it becomes too much to handle and it shows in our behaviour.
I believe that not being able to address the hurts faced in life promotes unhealthy behavior like drug abuse, promiscous lifestyle, self-harming, sexual abuse, domestic violence etc.
Every human being is born potentially divine. Why is then the world we live in a house to innumerable and unimaginable crimes?

Flooded by our own insecurities, we try to find solace in things that don't last. Things like alcohol, drugs and sex, that provide a temporary escape from our problematic lives, leaving us with possibly a hangover, health issues or an STD soon after, with the same problems we had before.

Substance Abuse


We put others down because of the constant need to feel superior because hey, no one wants to be left vulnerable right?

Imagine the plight of the six year old who got raped by her father's acquaintance because of the monetary issues between him and her father.
Or the woman who gets raped almost every night by her own husband for not having been able to make her parents give enough dowry to satisfy her husband's greed.
Or the teenager who gets raped every day by more than one men with unmanageable libidos, in a brothel because her parents sold her for money.

We ourselves are responsible for creating a world so full of insecurities. We ourselves are the creators of most of our problems.

The mere reason I could bare my heart out to a man four times my age who I hadn't met ever before is that for the first time in life, I felt that I wasn't being judged; that no matter what, my hurts won't be the subject of someone's drawing room gossips.

How many of us can honestly admit to being able to provide that kind of an environment to our peers and family?

How many of us can claim that they first seek to understand and then to be understood?

How can then we expect the survivors of sexual abuse talk about something that did leave them vulnerable?

It isn't too late. It never is.

It isn't too late to address issues from your childhood that still hurt you while you're 40.
It isn't too late to apologize to the friend you mocked for crying.
It isn't too late to stop harming yourself for the hurts caused by others.
It isn't too late to stop judging the people around you,
 all the time.

It isn't too late to take the remote control of your life back in your hands.

13 comments:

  1. Wow... no words... just wow
    salutes to you
    salutes to your spirit
    salutes to your courage

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  2. Lucid and perceptive narrative of a teenager’s choice to move from turmoil to stoicism exuding perceptible power. Not at all surprising having witnessed the metamorphosis. To be honest I have learnt and continue to learn from this adorable friend Anahita—peer educator in making.

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  3. Wow... no words... just wow
    salutes to you
    salutes to your spirit
    salutes to your courage

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  4. To be able to come out into the open is sheer courage and determination to overcome the demons of the mind.. And to be a kind and understanding facilitator is even more creditable and noble..

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  5. Hey ANAHITA, lemme admit dat on reading all d articles in ur blog, nd getting 2 know ur story, I felt like very lucky 2 hav got d opportunity 2 know u, n ur story..!!
    I cant measure d admiration I hav 4 d courage dat u possessed when u spoke about it all openly..specially 2 ur parents...and I hav also developed much respect 4 ur parents..!!
    N yes, d best thing I feel about it is dat although it began as ur attempt 2 heal urself, now it is more dan just dat...somethin dat others can look upto...
    Thank u, 4 sharing dis
    Thank u, 4 sending me d link
    Thank u, 4 doing exactly what u did..!!
    I hav developed so much RESPECT 4 u, dat I had never b4 for anyone dat i knew PERSONALLY...!!
    I hav read about many people who showed such courage, but den d fact dat i know u personally, makes me feel really lucky..!!!

    To d ppl who helped ANAHITA,
    Thank u 4 existing, thank u 4 making me believe, dat humanity still exists

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Vasu, for your kind words.
      I am honoured. :')

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  6. You're inspiring. Keep flying.

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  7. Hey Anahita, Mayank here.. ya classmate.. I re read all your articles again and here my bestie sitting next to me.. Bunny.. He also read your articles.

    Bunny: Hey Anahita.. I'm totally awestruck with the words you penned here... they were just... amazing.. Loved it.. Best Wishes.. :')

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  8. Dear Anahita, Having come out in the open with your unfortunate experience , you are empowering many... those who are abused to speak out and hopefully sensitising many others not to indulge in sexual abuse. Stay empowered .
    You are lucky to know Sushant ! A friend who i look upto as well as learnt a lot from him.

    ReplyDelete