Friday, January 6, 2017

I was molested at age 7 and then...

I was molested at the age of 7! It was my trusted neighbour, probably 18 or 19 years of age. He enticed me with a bright coloured balloon. I went behind him for that balloon and ended up in a solitary room, where he forced himself upon me.

I attained puberty at the age of 12. It was a biological change and I was still a child at heart and mind. Yet another known person, a cable operator "uncle" tried to molest me and I had run away from him! Nope! I was not emotionally handicapped till then. I assumed these were one off incidents and carried on with my life. School and studies were my life then.
Happy School days! (An illustrative picture)
At age 15, I had the first hit when a guy actually told me he was in love with me. I didn't know how to handle that. Soon, I realized this was a plain bodily attraction and I struggled to come out of it, when he threatened he would commit suicide if I didn't agree to his proposal. This was the first mental violation I had and I suffered for long. My studies went for a toss! I was a state rank material and I aspired for it. But then, I disappointed everybody with my results. I resolved not to get into contact with any guy. I joined a girls convent and life was back to normal. Again studies became my life.

When I entered the engineering college, survival became my top priority - a job! For I feared living under a drunkard's mercy throughout my life. I didn't give thought to a "nice guy" existence at all.
As I was growing in shape and structure (whatever little I had), I had to go through some sort of violation or molestation. I was turning into a rebel. I hated men. I couldn't stand them. Mere presence of any man in close quarters would send shivers down my spine. I suffered within. Too much identification I had with my body. It was like I had a treasure within and I needed to protect it every minute.

The rebellious character in me found expression in the college at times. I stomped every stalker, teaser on my way. They didn't know my past. I did it effortlessly. It so happened that one of our mischievous class mates, who felt a little high on being a male, passed on a chit to us girls with objectionable content. We, rebellious friends got hold of a moderate guy and lectured him throughout a night journey on how inappropriate it was and how humiliated we felt. If somebody gave me a red rose on Valentine's day, I happily accepted it. I moved on. I knew it didn't mean anything.

I joined work at Chennai. Molestation was a regular thing in crowded buses. I impatiently and helplessly went through it.
One night at 9:30, I was walking alone from the bus stop to my home. A guy came sideways in his two wheeler, slowed down to match my walking speed. He asked, 'Can I fuck you?'. I increased my speed, my heart beat racing up! As luck would have it, that day I was spared. He followed me throughout, till I reached home. Next day, I took an alternate route.

Yet another day, I was traveling in the bus which was not crowded. I even found an empty seat. 'Ok! Today, no suffering' I told myself. Then there was this cool educated guy, standing next to my seat. I held the rail of the seat in front of me, so that I could protect my head till I reach the destination. Our MTC drivers are super cool with their sudden breaks! This man held the same rail and was inching close to my hand. I sensed his desperation. He didn't know my desperation level. I blurted out to him, 'You want to touch my hand? Is that what you want?' He got off immediately in the next stop. I felt victorious!

I had so much anger, resentment for men for I could have easily become a serial killer! Thankfully there were no social media those days. No media continuously hogging on every molestation incident. Sanity prevailed. But my feminist attitude and the freedom I longed for was still boiling inside. Feminism means to me, that women are also as human as men and have every right to live in this world as man does!

Years passed by. I gave birth to a baby girl. What I taught her at the age of 3 was 'Good touch, bad touch'. I established a channel of communication that if somebody showed any sign of violation, she would inform me right away.

With all my past experiences, I could have turned into a utter bitter human being. But thankfully I took the opposite route. With an inner transformation I underwent, I blossomed beautifully. Instead of being a victim, I became part of a solution.

I realized there is no Utopia for women. No law would protect me. No matter how hard I cry, nobody around would come to help. Only solution is to safe guard myself. I am responsible for my safety. New year means going to temple and not to midnight parties, so I happily stayed safe. However if I had to indulge in these midnight parties because the society in which I live demands, I would probably go prepared! I love celebrations for I am an exuberant ebullient person. I celebrate life!

From the society, there are two solutions to it, in my view. One is stringent laws; fear of punishment that would keep these molesters under control. Second, change in social consciousness through individual transformation. I am a volunteer now. I resigned my high paying corporate job and am a full time volunteer working towards individual transformation. I do my part.

Dear ladies, until we get into a state where even if we walk naked that no man would turn around and ogle at us, please stay safe and be prepared!

Let common sense prevail over audacity!