Story by Uzma Shakra
I never had flashbacks. For the longest time, I had managed to keep the memory suppressed so deep within. It was only when I got older that I learnt that what happened to me was sexual abuse and then it all came back to me, I remembered every little detail, as clear as day.
It happened when I was about 5 or 6, too young, naive, and blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. It was a summer afternoon, I was at home with my uncle, playing with my dolls when he came and stood at the door, just looking at me.
After a while, he came and sat down next to me, asking me to include him in my game and I did. He cracked jokes and I giggled away, this was why he was my favourite uncle, you know? it was always so much fun with him!
And then it happened. He picked me up and put me on his lap, his touch just feeling wrong all of a sudden. I don't know for how long it lasted, I don't even know if I realized what was happening..but his hands moved all over my body, violating me and making me feel numb.
When he was done, he didn't even have to convince me to not tell anyone, I guess he knew from the start that I wasn't going to utter a word. And he was right.
In the years that followed, I was easily irritable, sad and I resented anyone who tried to get close to me.
I was 14 when I heard the term sexual abuse for the first time and that's when I realized that what happened to me was a crime. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Sexual abuse was the reason behind my anger, trauma, why I was repulsed by men, and why I hated attending any family functions. It all made sense now.
I was angry, upset, and felt so defeated because it had been over 8 years since the incident, I had no proof against my abuser and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it now.
My days were getting difficult to get by with the same thoughts going through my mind. I felt like I was in a downward spiral until one day I broke down infront of my parents and poured my heart out.
From there on began my journey to heal from all my past trauma. I was diagnosed with PTSD, put on medication, and started going for therapy regularly. Therapy helped me to validate my feelings, cope from that hurtful incident, forgive my abuser, and most importantly, forgive myself. It helped me to regain my sense of safety and trust.
I am 21 now and I still have relapses, I still shudder when I think about that day and I still feel nervous getting intimate with a boy because I am not very comfortable being touched.
But I am happier, healthier, and so much kinder to myself! It took me a while to give myself the closure I deserved. The memories of my past no longer haunt me. They instead give me strength. I look back and think to myself, if I can heal from that, then I can overcome other hurdles that come my way as well!
My most valuable learning has been my ability to say "NO" every time I am uncomfortable with something. This is my way of loving myself, finally, after all those years- unapologetically putting myself and my feelings before anyone else!