Caution: Today's extremely courageous blog is about the sexual abuse of a child which some members may find upsetting.
"You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone." ― Jeanne McElvaney.
Rape. Molestation. Sexual Abuse. Sexual Assault. Sexual Violation. I never came across the words when I was a child. The gritty stories were shielded from me. Why do parents hide the reality? To let our young minds be devoid of fear? But, how does it help when the children are hunted down and trapped? What happens when the ones who are supposed to protect who, commit such crimes themselves? We are lured by the shiny promises, a toy, and a chocolate? The exciting proposal of playing and sitting on the lap? What is wrong with that? Nothing, not really to a child.
I was shushed saying that it is a friendly touch. When his hands went down, he said its affection. When he groped me, I remember his whisper, "I will miss you, my favorite niece." I was 10 years old. I just wanted to play with my closest cousin before he left the city. It felt wrong. But he assured it's the perfect way to say goodbye. If it's so, then why did he ask me to keep it a secret?
Whenever I saw him next, I felt nauseous. I wanted to run away when he greeted me with 'that' smile. It's the same smile that still haunts me. By the time he got married, I was older and I realized what he did was wrong on every level. But who would believe me? I just hoped that he had stopped being that 'monster' in my nightmares.
Out of all the sexual abuse incidents, this one is something I can't 'forget' as my family says. They said that I have lost the right to speak out now as I didn't speak out then. Yes, it's my fault for not understanding the consequences I would have to face still years down the line. It's my responsibility for not comprehending his actions at that time. It's also my own fate as I kept my mouth closed every time I saw him. I wish I could have surpassed the fear and severe anxiety and spoke out.
The tragedy is that the feeling of mistrust is deep rooted. I am surrounded by some wonderful men around me, including my best friends. But I hope that one day I wouldn't flinch when they try showing affection. I hope I can reciprocate that warm hug that I always imagine giving, without being cold and detached.
There are unreported and even unheard abuse cases against family members around the world. Either the victims are too young, or, when they yearn to be assertive, they are silenced, fearing the stigma from society. Being a psychologist, I pray that awareness prevails and such innocent children are given the support and are encouraged to speak up. Even as I fight through the vivid flashbacks and the fear of being confronted by the same actions by someone close, this time, I will choose to fight. My counselor once told me that the day I summon the courage, I should pen my thoughts down and share. Maybe for venting, maybe for closure, or maybe because others will join my fight. Don't be disheartened when they say it's too late to speak. Don't generalize by saying every seed is bad.
BE LOUD AND BLAZE YOUR STRENGTH
A Moodscope member.