As A Kid, I Was Touched By Many Men In My Family: I Didn't Stop Them

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 23 December, 2016

My parents consider me to be the most happy-go-lucky person in the family. My friends tell me I radiate strength. Everyone thinks I am strong and oh-so brave. But there are times when guilt kicks in from the darkest times of my childhood and I think. In my heart I know, I am everything but all the 'strong woman' compliments I welcome with a brave face and open arms everyday in my life.

I am a good listener. People talk to me about how they got sexually abused and I ask them to take a stand. I ask them to raise their voice, when my own, I muzzled long ago. My heart feels heavy when they tell me what happened. Heavier, when I ask them to not let the bastards go easily.

I said I'm a good listener, I listen, I don't tell. This is what I don't tell. My body has been violated plenty of times. At different times, at different places, and by many different people. My parents never told me about the 'good and bad touch' because they were probably shy and it was considered ‘immoral’. Although I was too young to understand what was happening to me, I still knew it was wrong. Something that I had to hide from my parents. I used to stay with my maternal grandparents, where an English-medium school was built. I was 6 then and my village didn't have a good school. 

I used to sleep with Naani and Naana every day. Sometimes my maternal uncles would also sleep with us, because the house had just one bed. So at night when everybody slept in the house, I screamed in my head. I cried, I howled, I fought, all in my head. My Maama, not really old at that time, would insert his fingers in my vagina and I would wake up to jolting pain. He would say, "Shhhh...meri gudiyaaa." And I would shut the hell up. I didn't want to wake up my grandparents.

I never told anyone about this. How could I? I didn't know what it was. 

My vacations were spent differently as compared to the others'. I went to my parents’ place after all. There, my father’s cousin lived next door. He shared a 'deep bond' with my family. He would bring me dresses and would take me to his house to watch TV with him. He would make me sit really close to him and put a blanket over us. What happened underneath was 'our little secret'. I kept shut, again.

My violators don’t know they weren’t exclusive. They believe what they did to a child would have been forgotten by now, since I never brought it up. I never changed my attitude towards them, always pretending that I have no recollection of how they ‘loved’ me. But, I am 20 years old now. It’s a fight to forgive myself for letting this happen and letting this go. They are all married now. They have doting wives and children. I feel it’s too late for me to do anything now. I feel it would be wrong to talk about what happened a decade ago.

And who would believe a 20-year-old who suddenly woke up from a long slumber? For, it's been long. But, beneath the ever smiling face, when unfortunate time strikes, flashbacks haunt and I can only regret.

This story was submitted by Sarika.

Editor's Note:

Our inboxes have been overflowing with such stories. It's uncanny how they are all the same stories with just different homes and different families. It's needless to say we're upset that these voices weren't raised before. We want to stop this, and we need your help. We need every one of you to share your story with hashtag #ABSaysNo on your social media to put an end to this mental torture once and for all. Speak up, it's not your fault, it's theirs.