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She did not know how to tell her mother about it, and would not have been believed, so keeping quiet about being molested was the only way she knew.
Let me share a story with you. Story of a 14 year old girl.
Let’s name this girl भया (Bhaya). Bhaya means scared/horrified/petrified in the Hindi language. We name her BHAYA because she was not NIRBHAYA (alias of the girl who was brutally raped in Delhi and left to die in the middle of a street.) Nirbhaya was brave. She fought her rapists, she struggled to live and she was truly fearless. Bhaya, on the other hand was weak and scared. Bhaya, was thankfully never raped but she was molested.
Meet Bhaya, a girl who loved playing outdoors. She normally wore her brother’s clothes most of the time as they would be more comfortable while playing football. She wasn’t one of those pretty girls who knew how to dress and put make-up. She was unique in her own distinctive way.
Bhaya hated studying. Hence, like all the other weak students she was put in tuition classes for History, Geography, English, Math, Hindi, Marathi, and French.
Bhaya hated French tuition more than the others as they were on every Wednesday. It was the day when all the kids in her society would meet in the garden to play football.
One such dreadful Wednesday while Bhaya was sitting in her French class a hand came creeping from below the table and groped her. Bhaya had experienced a touch like that for the first time. She looked at the boy sitting next to her. A boy she had known from school looked at her with a lusty smirk in his eyes. Bhaya panicked and ran out of the classroom.
Bhaya came home and told her mother, “Mom, I won’t go to French tuition from next week. I don’t like it there.” “Agh, Bhaya!” her mom replied promptly. “You always find ways to avoid studies. You are going to the tuition. Its my final call.”
Next Wednesday, Bhaya picked a seat away from the ‘Creep’. She felt safe near her professor. However the Creep’s eyes followed her every move. Classes was dismissed and Bhaya rushed out. But little did she know that Creep was right behind her. The classes were on the fourth floor of an old building without an elevator. Creep, within no time caught up to Bhaya and cornered her. He held her tight, he scratched her arms, he tried to kiss and touched her everywhere possible. Bhaya, tried to scream, she struggled to set herself free and fight him, but Creep was just way too strong for her.
Thankfully , a few seconds into this nightmare, the rest of the students from the class were walking down the staircase. Creep heard their footsteps and ran away.
Bhaya could barely stand. Somehow, she found the strength to reach home. Bhaya’s mother noticed her bruises. “Where you out playing football again with those boys instead of going to the tuition?” questioned her mother. Bhaya didn’t have the stamina to share this with her mother, so she shut up and she shut-up for a very long time.
She shut-up until the day she shared this with me.
Bhaya, over the years has become very different. She, till today does not respond to any kind of eve-teasing. If a man touched her inappropriately under the pretext of a mistake, she silently walks away without any protest. She cannot trust people easily, she is always suspicious of a person’s intentions, her relationships never lasted long and she hates it if people touch her face. The Creep still scares her even after decades of this incident. The Creep has gotten into her mind and soul and no matter what she does, she is still that weak girl who couldn’t raise her voice.
When a girl is touched without her permission it shakes her, it breaks her & it shatters every piece of her body,mind and soul.
I share this story today, to impress upon you the fact that molestation leads to a life long trauma in a woman and that shutting-up is doing no good!
In our day-to-day lives, men find a way to touch us. In a crowded train, a train platform, in a bus, on a busy street or any place where they see opportunity. 90% of times women let go of such men. I say DON’T. Call him out, shout at him, abuse him, or just give him a stinky stare. Make sure he knows that his actions were noticed.
Second, make your daughters are independent, brave and verbal enough to face such ‘Creeps’. Make sure you are standing rock-solid besides her in every situation.
Third, notice if there are any ‘Bhayas’ around you. She can be your daughter, your sister, your friend or she can be you! Talk to her. Here is what I told my friend Bhaya, maybe you can take some inspiration from it.
Imagine you are happily married and have a beautiful 14 year old daughter who came home with scratched arms and a broken soul. Will you still shut-up ? Won’t you raise your voice? You will! You will make sure that CREEP never hurts your daughter again!
Now, all you need to do is to find the same will and courage to stand-up for yourself!
We reside a country which worships warrior goddesses like Maa Durga, Maa Shakti and Maa Kaali who are known to fight the evil. They reside in your heart. All you need to do is be BRAVE.
Find the strength within you and stand-up for yourself.
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Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock