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Monday, 29 June 2015

Survivor Diaries #3

Read how a good friend of mine shares her story of being sexually abused and raped by a stranger and her own relatives. Her strength did not falter, even after the circumstances turned against her.

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My first encounter to wrong touch was when I was around 9. It was few days before Durga Puja, the biggest festival for Bengalis. We had gone to buy new clothes. My parents wanted to gift me a pair of jeans so we went to a shop and they chose a good one for me and asked me to try them on.

I wore it but it was bit too long for me so the shopkeeper asked one of the guys working in the shop, to take my measurement so that they could alter it. So, the boy took me to the trial room to take measurement, which till date I do not understand how my parents did not find strange.

It was my very first experience of this weird kind of touching in that trial room. He told me if I be a good girl and let him take measurements properly, I will get that pair of jeans or else he would complain about me to my parents and they would be very angry with me. So I agreed to do what he told. The first thing he told me was to take off my clothes. He helped me to do this. I was scared but didn't say anything. He started touching my body, my chest and vagina. It was so scary and weird. I don’t remember for how long it went on. I do not think it was too long but it felt like eternity. Once he was finished, he kissed on my cheek, clothed me, told me I was a very good girl and that I could take the pair of jeans home, and then finally took measurements. He warned me to never tell this to anyone because otherwise everyone would think that I am a bad girl. I don't remember much about what happened after that but I remember that I never in my life wore those pair of jeans for once, even though my parents scolded me for wasting it.

To be honest, I don't remember much of my childhood. I have very few memories among which, I think this incident alone is the most prominent one.
Although it was a very disturbing incident of my life, I do not think it harmed me the way it could have. Maybe because I was successful in blocking it out temporarily with the help of my parents’ love. But this memory came flooding almost after 7 years when I encountered my second phase of abuse.

This second phase of abuse I would say has shaped my life.

I was 15 and had a pretty good life. After that one particular event, I never faced something as horrible again. Life was peaceful till the age of 15. At 15, the first thing that happened was my mother's death. It felt like my life was shattered and would never be whole again. I was naive. I didn't know many more shocks were to come.

After my mother's death, my dad didn't want to leave me alone in our house so we moved to my maternal uncle's house in a different city. My uncle, aunt and cousin loved me very much so my dad thought it would be better to keep me in a loving environment. He left me there and went back to settle down few things at our old city and get a proper transfer to the new city which took few months. I was left alone with my uncle, aunt and cousin.

First few days were quiet and easy. I was trying to move on with life. I thought I was supposed to have a better life here and these people would protect me. I trusted them.
But then, after few days, one night I suddenly woke up from my sleep feeling really weird. After first few seconds it became clear that it was my uncle in my room sitting near me in my bed. He started to grope my breasts. I was so shocked at first and then I was so scared. I felt like I was being suffocated. I wanted to jump out of my bed but I didn't have the courage. I don't know what I was so scared of. So I just pretended to be asleep, which I was not and I am sure he too knew it and yet he did not stop. I lay there silently till he was gone. After he was done, he kissed on my head and left the room and I lay there shocked, shattered, broken, crying. I again did not tell anyone. I just kept quiet like someone had told me that I was not supposed to talk about it.

broken girl
Artwork by Refaya

After that night, he started coming to my room every night after everyone fell asleep. It was so scary. I didn't know what to tell, whom to tell or if I could even talk about it or not. Something kept telling me it was happening because I had been bad. I knew it was not supposed to happen but then it must be my fault if it's happening. So I just kept quiet because I thought I had to.

Within few weeks, my cousin too left for another city for his work. I was sad because he was my best friend and he left me. On that weekend my aunt told me she would go out with some friends which would take few hours and till then I was supposed to stay with my uncle. I was so scared, I knew something bad was going to happen again and I could do nothing. After she left I went to my room quietly and started studying. I thought I could escape my fate. And then after few minutes, my uncle came to my room. I was so scared. I pretended that I hadn’t seen him, and kept studying. He came and started touching me and I tried to keep studying, denying what was happening. He then started undressing me. I closed my eyes and kept shivering the whole time as he raped me. It went on for what it felt like was few hours, but I don’t really know. He left satisfied, leaving a shattered soul behind.

This went on for two years even after my dad came back. This happened whenever he found me alone. He never wasted even the slightest chance to touch me. He raped me orally and digitally. He made me give him oral sex. He gave me orgasms and made sure I was not faking it. I was so confused. Orgasms felt good and I felt more ashamed of myself. Moreover, he used to say "See, even you like this". Much later, I came to know that it was not my fault and that the body is supposed to respond in this particular way to certain touches. He used to ask me if he was hurting me, and if I ever said yes, he used to hurt me more.

The only thing that kept me go through this horrible time was my father. I wanted to die but kept thinking what would happen to him if I did.
But even in this pain I had my cousin like a silver lining. I always felt safe and protected whenever he came home. He always used to kiss my forehead and made me feel so loved, safe and protected. My cousin was my best friend. But then one night when my cousin came home I was watching TV with him. No one was in that room. As usual my cousin kissed my forehead. I felt happy and thanked him. Then suddenly, he grabbed me and kissed me on my lips. He used his tongue and brushed my arms with his hand and touched me. It felt so disgusting. I was shocked. He again kissed me and left the room. He was the last person I expected to break my trust.

To be honest, I did not even know what my cousin did was called. I was from a very small town and had zero sexual knowledge. It just felt so bad, so wrong. It was after my uncle kissed me it occurred to me that what my cousin did too was something very bad. It broke my heart to know that I mean nothing more to my cousin than to my uncle. But again, I kept quiet. I had no one to talk to, no one to tell, no family, and no friend.

My uncle kept raping me for two years but my cousin kissed me only once. Both the incidents left me scarred for life. My abuse finally stopped when I forced my dad to move to another house giving every possible reason. Finally I was out of that place. But soon I started feeling depressed. I felt ashamed of myself, and guilty. I thought I deserved what was done to me and started self-harming. By this time, I remembered my childhood incident too. I got to know what these things are called. I came to know I was molested by my cousin and raped by uncle and a stranger. It was overwhelming. I felt suicidal and attempted twice but failed because I was too scared to die. My nightmares wouldn't let me sleep properly for the next eight years. I denied everything that happened to me and kept denying it. I always felt so scared, broken and sad. I struggled to live every day. I felt dead inside. I gradually accepted what my uncle did but kept denying what my cousin did. I kept telling myself it was his mistake, he must have felt guilty. It was the best way I could survive, by denying it.

But then after eight years, I came to know my cousin knew everything his father had done. Even my aunt knew everything my uncle had done but they did nothing to save me from this pain, absolutely nothing. Instead, my cousin took the opportunity to molest me. I told my best friends everything because I couldn't hold it back anymore. I felt I would die if I hid it anymore. My friends told me to tell my father. I did and he did nothing again, maybe because he didn't want to face the truth, or maybe because he thought he if he doesn't do anything it will all turn into a lie. But I couldn't hold it in anymore. After knowing the truth about my cousin and aunt I was too angry.

It was a family gathering that day. I didn’t want to go but my dad forced me to. The moment I saw my uncle's family, my anger burst. I confronted them, all three of them. My uncle denied everything he did. My cousin said I wanted it and that's why he had kissed me. He said I wanted it because I did not push him away.  He used to be the guy I could even die for. And my aunt, the woman I loved like my mother, called me a slut, called me characterless. She said I wanted to have sex with my uncle and cousin, she accused me. She blamed my clothes. I knew this was to come but I still couldn't accept it. I thought this time, I was broken beyond repair. Even my dad did not accept this behaviour of mine. He didn't want me to confront them. He got angry and left me. Only my two best friends stood with me. They picked me up, gave me strength to face life again. I left my old house and came to a different city.

Right now, I am staying with few other friends. I have a job. I am working in a well known MNC, at a good post. I have friends who will even die for me. I have a new life again, away from my past, away from the abusive relations and a life full of lies. I am also pursuing my post graduation.

credits - forgivingforme.wordpress.com


Obviously I still feel the pain but I don't let it consume me anymore. I struggle but I don't feel suicidal now. It still hurts so much, but I try to hold on. I want to live now. I know that I still have hope. I still can live the way I want to and not let my past control me. I know I still have wounds, but I believe they will heal, even if takes a long time.

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Thank you, friend, for bravely sharing your story with us and inspiring others to break the silence.

2 comments:

  1. It feels so ashamed when the people we trust and love the most make our life hell, but you are gonna be a great inspiration for everyone. I am proud to have a sister like you Anahita as you are sharing such stories to empower other girls.

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  2. I feel great that the things you do here is to give strength to the people out there struggling in life. Keep doing to make others feel good :)

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