Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Story by Lokesh Pawar
It took me nearly 4 years of personal research to understand the gravity of the incidents that had unfolded over 8 years.
Being the youngest in the family, I was not only loved and pampered but also taken advantage of by a close relative of mine. Unaware of what was happening to me, I was forced into activities that a child should have never been exposed to. I was abused and it damaged me in every way.
My pleas went unheard and I was scared. I was told to not tell anyone else this “secret of ours”.
I knew the pain I would have to undergo each time my abuser approached me. Having endured it over a period of time, everything became mechanic. I forgot the fact that something had to be done about it, as I sat there questioning myself and my worth.
I was tired, ashamed and lost my self-confidence.
I started distancing myself from my abuser once I understood what was happening to me. I finally opened up about this to my parents. They cried and apologized for not being there for me. I had their support.
I remember the day I stood up to him. He told me “Karde meri khushi keliye” (Do it for my happiness). I had heard it way too many times and could no longer stand it and said NO. I was not seeing my relative at that particular moment but a rapist!
It took me a long time to say no, but when I did, it was one of the most liberating moments that I had experienced in a long while. No is a powerful word, it shows your strength and courage.
The entire experience itself is painful, hurtful and traumatizing. But the moment you understand that you are not at fault, that there is no need for you to be ashamed, the healing begins; at least that was the starting point of my journey in healing.
I wanted to become the voice I was searching for while doing my personal research so that others would know that they are not alone.
And today I am that voice. I am a child sexual abuse activist. It has not been easy but I am proud of where I stand now.