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Bombay HC’s new ruling about child sexual abuse proves yet again how in 2021, women and children are still not safe!
Trigger warning: This post contains mentions of sexual assault and child sexual assault which may be triggering to survivors and certain audiences.
Mansi was anxious. Her heart was racing as she ran up the staircase to her flat. She rang the doorbell again and again without a pause. The door opened and she ran up to her room. She slammed the door shut behind her and plopped down on the floor, panting. Cold sweat drenched her wet as she sat there, staring at her desk.
“Mansi. What happened?” yelled her mother from outside the room.
“It’s nothing, mom. I’m fine!” Mansi replied as if hit by a sudden realisation.
Mansi’s mother was worried about her daughter, but she also knew that children should be given their private space. So, she gave the door a concerned look, before walking away.
Mansi was still there, inside, trying to get a hold of her nerves. “What did I do? Was I stupid? Am I nuts?”
She curled up and buried her head in her knees. “I shouldn’t have done that… Oh! I shouldn’t have.” Manasi pressed her head further against her knees. “What was I thinking? It was just a harmless kiss. And he’s my boyfriend. We got to do it someday,” Mansi told herself.
“But he reminded me of him…” warm tears flooded her eyes as her voice cracked under her breath and she sniffed.
A tactile sensation on her chest made her shiver and she hugged herself more tightly. Tears trickled down her cheeks onto her lap, “I shouldn’t have slapped him.” She felt two hands wrap around her waist, which made her nauseous. Coughing, she gripped her jeans tight to the point where it started hurting her.
“I hate it. Yes! I hate this.” She was now crying hysterically, but as quietly as possible, making sure that nothing escaped the silence of her bedroom. One of the hands slowly began to go down, making way for itself between her legs. A disgusting kind of warmth embraced her back. “Don’t touch me. Please do not touch me. Do not touch me…” her words faded in her sobs.
The hands started to fondle her. They rubbed her waist, chest and groin from over her clothes. “That’s right. It’s because he did that to me that I can’t have a normal intimate relationship,” she reasoned.
“Rahul isn’t a bad guy, and he has never done anything to make me uncomfortable. But today, when he asked me to close my eyes when we kissed, I couldn’t help but recall him. I couldn’t shake off insecurity which I felt. And I couldn’t do anything, and before I knew it, I had already slapped Rahul.” Mansi cursed herself in her head.
“Can’t I ever have a normal relationship? And can’t I ever touch, and kiss, and make love to the guy I love?” Mansi cried.
“Why did it have to be me? Oh, why did it have to happen to me? I never wore provocative clothes, nor did I go out late at night. Then why?” Her questions died with her spirit.
“I am tired. Very tired.” Mansi sniffed and looked up again. She stumbled as she stood up, but managed to waddle up to her bathroom. There, she rinsed her face with tap water and looked at her image in the mirror. Her eyes were red and reflected an unprecedented tint of lifelessness in them.
She tried smiling but failed miserably at it. Then, she squinted her eyes and let out a sigh, before trying again. This time the smile came out better.
Mansi practised a few more times before she perfected the smile. “This will do,” she told herself. She dried her face and walked out of the room, “Mom, let’s have dinner!”
Author’s note: After reading the bizarre judgment by Bombay HC, here’s a story I wrote to spread the word that childhood sexual abuse trauma haunts us throughout our lives. Irrespective of whether it was a skin-to-skin contact or not, the trauma will haunt us as long as we live!
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Photo by Austin Guevara from Pexels
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An undergraduate in the field of Psychology and English Literature, Rishika has a knack for
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