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I didn’t realise I was getting so deep into this abusive relationship with an older guy as a teenager, and barely escaped only because my mother decided to talk to me about it.
Trigger Warning: This has child sexual abuse and violence against women, and can be triggering to survivors.
I was 14 years old when I first met this guy or I should say I was introduced to him by one of my neighbours whom I used to call bhaiya. But born in 80s belonging to generation X, I wasn’t too smart and mature at that age, like millennials are nowadays.
So I was a small town naive girl. I resisted for a while and fell into the trap where we became a couple; that’s how he used to call it.
He was 5 years older than me, I was in high school and he was preparing for some engineering college entrance.
Initially he would just talk, and take care of me. Gradually his intentions changed. He became somewhat possessive, may be over-possessive. Though it was a red flag (which I understand now), I did not realise then as a naive school girl. I felt proud then that at least someone thinks of me like that – as if I was his ‘prized possession’, as if I cannot be loved like this by anybody else.
That was the my first mistake of my life as a teenager. I let him be possessive, and now he kind of had a hold on me.
One day he raised his hand on me. That was the second time I ignored the red flag, as he manipulated me by saying that because we belong to the same caste, we will marry someday. You will be my wife, and then I will never treat you like this in future. I do it now but somehow it happens just because I care for you and I cannot share you with anyone else.
I felt guilty of thinking bad about him, because he was going to be my husband! Girls born in the middle class in small towns are taught to revere their husband. Every time he raised his hand, he somehow made me feel guilty about it as if I had done something wrong, and I deserve this.
I couldn’t share the pain with my parents, not because I feared something but because I was ashamed of myself, and my morale was so low that I misjudged myself. Years passed and schooling was disrupted as I wasn’t a normal school going kid after that, I somehow passed my 10th and 12th boards.
After this phase, I gathered my strength and tried to severe all my ties with him but then he couldn’t let me go. He would sit and cry until I had forgiven him.
This went on for a long period until he tricked me into marriage by saying that you don’t have to do anything just give me your 10th certificate and I will make a fake marriage certificate which I can show at a job just to secure a financially sound position.
And again I ignored the red flag and fell into his trap. That’s how I got ‘married’ to him. He got that certificate registered in court and without having a social ceremony I was married.
I didn’t know about it until one day he was pissed at me and called my paternal uncle and gave him the proof of it, and even showed some photos of us together. That was another episode in my life where he molested me physically, tortured me mentally, emotionally and physically.
That was another episode in my life where he molested me physically, tortured me mentally, emotionally and physically.
Again I couldn’t say a word because at that time I was so devastated and my morale was at the lowest. I felt that I had wronged my parents and I couldn’t face them. I thought it’s okay if he actually marries me because once my virginity was lost nobody was going to accept me, so I would be loyal to him, no matter what.
So when my uncle found out about it, he came home and discussed the matter with my parents.
Initially my parents were skeptical accepting what my uncle proposed, that we ‘save the family honour’; being a daughter’s father he thought it would be prudent to pursue this marriage alliance.
But they say if certain things aren’t meant to be, then they don’t happen. My mother caught me crying one night, and asked me if I’m unhappy with such an alliance. She said that if that’s the case please let us know we will everything in our capacity to save you. I just said that mummy I don’t want to be with that person. But I never shared the details with her about what had happened with me, how I had been humiliated on the road, in public, and everywhere until now.
Girls, please talk to your parents; parents, please be open to see what’s happening in your daughter’s life!
It took me almost 10 years to come out of that horror I faced when I was a child. But somehow it made me strong in the process. Because now I know what I want and what I don’t, what I deserve and what don’t. I learnt to fight for myself.
My simple request is that if you’re a teenage girl be open to your parents and tell them every thing that happens in your life.
If you’re a parent then please put your guard down and see your child as a friend, and create an environment which she can always come back to, and tell you everything about whatever is happening with her. Just be there for her.
Image source: Luis Galvez on unsplash
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