This story is inspired by the trending topic #ME TOO addressing the taboo topic of our sick society where women are being treated as objects of pleasure by some. It is a pity that they are victimized and go through the shame and guilt of something beyond their doing. Thanks to Alyssa Milano this campaign lifted off to give at least a segment of women their voice to speak up about the naked atrocities.
Appreciative are the efforts of Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi at saving and providing protective care to the children (both male and female) who are either the victims or targets of sexual abuse and assault in many parts of India.
Mira the shy introvert and the only girl child in the family was overly protected and pampered by all around her. Her simple demands of getting new glass bangles were met with gifts of beautiful gold bangles. Such was the affection and adulation that she was addicted to.
She left for school every morning along with her elder brother and returned home under his protective care. Life was simple, chores were basic and time a plenty. The siblings had a set pattern throughout the day.Going for their showers, getting dressed for school, having a freshly prepared breakfast along with a cup of milk ( Mira didn’t quite enjoy that cup of milk but had no guts to refuse it afraid of her dad’s annoyance). Spending till afternoon at school and returning to rest a bit and get done with the Homework. Once the Homework was done, they had all the time to play around.
Whilst the parents thought Mira was very docile and well protected with the whole family around her including a grandmother and a great grandfather who was always at home she became a silent victim of abuse at a very young age. In the early 70s speaking about Love and sex was a taboo topic in most Indian households. Funnily, if you heard a girl even uttering those words she was labelled as an immoral.
She was barely nine years old( or so she would think) when a far relative more than double her age came to stay with them. He appeared ugly to her from day one but she thought nothing much as he would stay a few days and return home. Alas! this so called far cousin was there to stay longer than weeks and months. He was there to stay for some years on the pretext of better schooling. Mira and her brother Mohan were not very happy with this but their parents seemed to be in a habit of having people stay over. Earlier it was an uncle of theirs who took away more affection from their mother than he deserved while staying over for a few years.
Mohan had detested the very time when an aunt had moved over from another town along with her family and they had to put up additional seven members besides seven of their own in that two bedroom house for several months till their father managed to get them a house to move into. Each time the relief of seeing someone move out from their house was short lived as another relative would move in.
The far cousin Dinesh came to the city from a small town and appeared a simpleton initially but soon had a corrupt mind and attitude. He was overly protected by grandma for all his flaws as she covered them up quite smartly. Little did grandma realise that Dinesh had his lecherous eyes upon her own daughter Ganga. Dinesh and Ganga went to the same school and she often had to put up with his suggestive behaviour. Knowing grandma’s fond attitude towards Dinesh, Ganga dared not mention about his behaviour to anyone at home.
Dinesh meanwhile became bolder having understood her dilemma and his naughty gestures and teasing touch became frequently repetitive. One day when grandma was away for prayers and the two siblings were busy playing Dinesh forcefully slid his hands into her clothes and pressed her breasts hard. This was disgusting for Ganga and though she pushed him away, she cried a lot. Mira tried consoling her but the nine year old couldn’t have understood the sentiments of her young aunt. She was disgusted. She felt like she had been raped. No man had ever touched her body like that. She thought she was to be blamed for this violation of her piousness.
When grandma came home Ganga wanted to cry out loud and tell her about it all. Grandma was in her own world, singing away, not even noticing that her youngest born was going through trauma. Ganga couldn’t dare to talk about it eventually as she was ashamed of what had happened. She took the shame upon herself as if she was a sinner. Dinesh was all smiles appearing victorious and his moves became worse by the day.
He started grabbing her in his arms at any given opportunity. He would pinch her on the breasts, kiss her and pass obscene remarks. In a conservative Indian family all this was considered extremely shameful and Ganga was suffering this shame so much that she lost her concentration on her studies. It made her into a very reserved person who found no solace with anyone as she couldn’t talk to anyone about the mental agony she was undergoing. The disrespect to her body not only caused shame in her but affected her health too. She started sleep walking and wanted to kill herself one day. Thankfully her brother Inder caught her in time and saved her but no one ever understood the cause behind all this. All she deserved was a comedy of scolding coming from all elders.
Ganga tried to gather some courage and speak to her mother once at least but without hearing her out she was shut down by praises of Dinesh coming out from her mum. Grandma had surely been charmed up by this guy. His sexual urge was outgrowing his pants and one day as great grandpa was having his afternoon nap Dinesh grabbed little Mira in his arms and started fondling her. Mira was scared of him, she didn’t know what to do. Then as he continued to cuddle her like a baby he unbuttoned his pants and placed Mira’s hand on his private part.
Mira was astonished. She tried to run away but he held her tight and threatened her that he would call her parents. She wasn’t committing a sin but was made to feel guilty and ashamed by him. Lifting up her frock, he placed his member inside her panties. She was utterly confused in her innocence as to why would he do that. In a matter of minutes the ultimate happened right in front of great grandpa who was enjoying his blissful nap unaware of the disgusting act.
Mira was scared about what she underwent. She still hadn’t understood what the ugly act meant and why. She wanted to cry because her panty was wet and she was in pain. He explained to her that this was normal and she was supposed to wear wet pants as a sign of growing up. He further explained to her that her mother must be wearing wet panties too. She hated to think like that about her mum and worst even that her dad Inder could ever behave so badly ever.
Her dislike towards Dinesh turned into hatred after that episode as he started frequenting his act. How she wished she could tell mummy about it but was full of shame to even speak about it. She had understood what sex meant pretty early, in fact earlier than puberty. Now she could understand what her aunt Ganga must be undergoing as he claimed proudly once that she was not her only victim. How she wished she could run away somewhere as she was full of disgust by his acts. Surprisingly her parents and Mohan never realized all the nonsense going on right under their noses.
What a lovely protective care she had where she and her aunt were abused during the day, in the evenings and at night. Ganga was happily married off in a couple of years and Dinesh’s gazing eyes were watchful of Mira’s pubic growth. How could she ever tell her mother that long before she got the first bra for her little girl, her tiny breasts had been pinched and bitten onto. How could she ever explain her pain and to whom when right there in front of her sleeping grandma she was made naked, fondled and acted upon.
Such behaviour is found in nearly eighty percent of overprotective conservative Indian families where men of all ages are thought to be guarding the females in the house. Unfortunately it is those very guardians like fathers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins who break their decency barriers and victimize young women and girls again and again, yet continue to enjoy the privilege of being their protectors giving no voice to the female members. This kind of shame and guilt cannot be justified by any means.