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Sometimes, you think nothing bad has ever happened to you – until something brings it all back; a woman shares a childhood incident of sexual abuse that continues to play on her mind today.
I am from a family of five people (Mumma, Papa, and three of us, sisters). I am the youngest among them. I had a good childhood as I never got to know of anything bad happening around me (thanks to my sisters for that).
There are many things that live deep inside us which we have forgotten and then one day, something happens and all of a sudden there is a flashback to one of those things and it all comes back as though it is happening right now. The same thing happened with me.
Trigger warning: This post contains some descriptions of child sexual abuse that could be triggering for some readers.
It was during my class 5 summer vacations when my cousin and I were going to our dance classes. Just next to my home, a man came and grabbed my breasts and kept walking straight ahead. I didn’t know what just happened, but it hurt, it hurt badly. My cousin saw it and laughed at me and that made me feel more awkward.
As I came came back home, I went to my mumma and told her what had happened and then she told me that I don’t have to talk about it to anyone. And also that if anybody touches my breasts or vagina then that is a bad thing.
And then all of a sudden there was another flashback. A flashback to the time when I was 6 years old and in class 1.
Many of the kids in our society used to play together, regardless of their age. With us there was one bhaiya who was the oldest one in the group. He use to bring me chocolates when I was 6 and ask me to stay back for 5 minutes after everyone had left. Then he used to kiss me and give me the chocolates saying “Don’t tell anyone, I will give you more chocolate tomorrow”. And I never told anyone.
One day I got to know that he was going to be my tuition teacher. I never wanted my mom to close the door while he was there but my mom used to say that I was a careless girl and would not study properly if the door was left open. When I missed doing my homework, mumma used to hit me in front of him and as soon as she used to leave, he used to put his hands under my T-shirt and rub my back by saying that it would be hurting.
Now he stopped bringing chocolates; instead, he used to blackmail me that he would tell my mom that my homework is not complete and that if I I wanted to stop him from doing that, I should allow him to kiss me. One day when I got low marks in a test and was scared of showing it to my mom, he told me that he would talk to my mom and I would not get any scolding but first I would have to do as he says.
The next thing I remember is that I was lying on the floor with my frock folded up till my neck and that big man was on me and I was not supposed to open my eyes.
All of a sudden I saw my mumma entering the room and then I don’t know what happened but he didn’t come to teach me from the next day. We still used to meet but he never asked me to stay alone with him.
This flashback came to me about 11 years ago when I realised what had actually happened to me. And now that flashback does not go away. It still haunts me, and make me feel bad about my body. I am fighting, I am fighting with a big smile on my face, I am fighting that fear till now.
But what strengthened was the incident from class 6 when I was 11 years old. We (my whole family) went to Vaishno Devi and we were returning on horses. Everything was good and I suddenly noticed that my my horse man’s hand was touching my breasts and I had no idea what to do. I knew it was wrong, I was uncomfortable but I didn’t know what to do. I finally saw my sister coming and by luck got to talk to her for one minute but all I could tell her was “Jiji, this bhaiya is touching me here and there.” And my sister told him, “Bhaiya don’t touch her” and then she went ahead. I was left with him again. He kept doing that the whole way and I kept searching for someone to help me, to save me. But there was no one. Only me, my horse and that man.
Finally, the place came where I had to get down from the horse. And as I came down, that bhaiya came near me and spoke very politely, “Please don’t feel bad for what happened” and went away from there. I kept standing there like a statue, watching my family coming, with big smiles on their faces. I wanted to tell them, I wanted to tell someone but no, I couldn’t, because my mumma had told me before that I don’t have to tell these things to anyone and I stayed quiet.
I was scared, scared of all men around me, but after that I told myself, I won’t let any man touch me ever.
I am scared, I am scared even now but yes, nobody can touch me without my permission. Because now I know what I am supposed to do.
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Feminist by heart and Atheist by soul.
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