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Dear Survivor Don’t Let Others Silence You; You Deserve Better

Posted: December 28, 2020

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Sometimes, when you speak out, people will accuse you of ‘dishonoring’ your family and capitalizing on your trauma. You are not. You deserve better.

Trigger Warning: This contains discussion of gender based violence, and may be triggering for survivors.

Dear Survivor,

You deserve better.

You have survived something that breaks a thinking, feeling human being from the inside. You deserve justice. You deserve better.

They will tell you that it happens with a lot of people of your gender. It shouldn’t. You deserve better.

You will be told “not to make such a big deal of it/to resolve it at your level.” You should make a big deal of it. You deserve better.

You will be told to keep quiet because the so called ‘honour’ of your family is at stake. Don’t keep quiet. Speak out. You deserve better.

Often, those whom you trust the most will violate your body, and therefore, your mind. You deserve better.

Often, those whom you trust the most will look away and pretend as if nothing is happening, while you are abused and violated right under their noses. You deserve better.

Sometimes, people whom you trust the most, whether family or friends, will tell you that you ‘deserve’ to be violated, for whatever reason. You don’t. You deserve better.

People will even side with your perpetrator and gaslight you into believing that you are mistaken. You are not. You deserve better.

Sometimes, people will tell you that you are tainted, broken, or dishonourable because you were abused/ raped/ molested. You are not. You deserve better.

People will blame you in some way— your clothes, your career, your lifestyle, your sexual choices, your behavior— for violence against you. Don’t believe them. You deserve better.

When you speak out, especially on social media, a lot of people will tell you that you are doing this for “attention and publicity.” You are not. You deserve better.

Sometimes, when you speak out, people will accuse you of ‘dishonoring’ your family and capitalizing on your trauma. You are not. You deserve better.

Your loved ones may get together with your culprit to defame, gaslight, and scare you. As will those responsible for giving you justice, those of your gender, those responsible for protecting you. Don’t lose heart. You deserve better.

There are those who will compare you to a ‘zinda laash’, a living corpse, and treat you like an object of pity. You are not. You deserve better.

There are those who will doubt your story and try to pick holes in it. You deserve better.

There are those who will pretend to help you while taking advantage of you. You deserve better.

There are those who will make you feel like a burden, or that they are doing you a favor by accepting you or living with you. You deserve better.

People will tell you that you are ‘weak’ for your trauma, your nightmares, your tears, your anger, your mood, your temper, your panic attacks, and your seeking therapy. You are not. You deserve better.

You deserve justice. You deserve closure. You deserve to be normal, or even abnormal if you want. You deserve to be loved, protected, and pampered. You deserve to be feted for being strong and supported for times when you are weak.

You. Deserve. Better.

A survivor of gender based trauma is affected in ways that go deep, and their worldview can get permanently damaged. It can be really crippling in their day to day life – whether in the personal or public sphere, and sending some comfort their way can help.

We at Women’s Web are collaborating with the Saahas App for Survivors of Gender Violence to reach out to women who need to be heard, and healing, as survivors of gender based violence. Letters to the survivor from our authors will be published on Women’s Web in the coming 10 days, and also on the Saahas website, in a series called “Dear Survivor”.

If you would like to participate, please upload your letter on your Women’s Web dashboard, and if chosen, it will be published.

Image source: shutterstock

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