Updated: Jun 27
Story by Lokesh Pawar
I freed myself from my abuser the day I decided to speak up. Having faced a rough childhood, with no one to fight for me, I decided to fight for others who also share realities like mine. Today, I work as a child sexual abuse activist, hoping to give people power to speak up.
As an activist, I get to talk to a lot of people. And every time I talk to a survivor, we form a mutual understanding about our struggles. We let each other know that we aren’t alone in it. This is really important because the life trajectory we happen to have leaves us alienated and secluded in many ways. And by opening up on various platforms, it helps people share their stories as well, or at least feel that it is okay to do so. And that is an empowering feeling.
I have had so many people share their stories after listening to mine.
One of the most remembered instances was when I had gone back to my old school. I had shared my experience on stage and by the time I reached home I got a DM from a girl who told me about how she was abused by her sister. She was on the verge of ending her life. However, by listening to my story, she realised that she should be standing up for herself. She then spoke up to her sister and told her parents about it and received the required help. She is a good friend of mine today.
It is no longer about me! My story and my experience have been heard already. What I am doing now is, being there for those survivors who need me; by being their voice and representing them. There seems to be a lot of representation for feminism and LBTQIA+ community. However, there is not much representation about male sexual abuse or male child sexual abuse.
1 in 6 men is likely to be abused while they are children. It is pathetic but this issue is devoid of people, talking about it in the forefront. And I am facing this problem right now. In a “Cross-sectional study of gender-based violence against men” in India, 52.4% men was said to have experienced violence.
People don’t really understand the depth and gravity of this issue. Male child sexual abuse and male sexual abuse is a huge issue and it needs to be addressed! If a child has to go through something like this, their entire life is destroyed, leaving them traumatised.
There are many people who were forced into this situation. But we live in denial and ignorance. And one of the main reasons for this is, the societal expectations that men are bound by. Why do you expect us, men, to brush off the stories and experiences that we have experienced? Men hide away their pain because of this; because the world wants us to remain silent and not feel anything. And that is not what I want for the people I am fighting for.
It is crucial to not gender abuses, violence and cases of rape.
I wish if people could understand the seriousness of the issue and take necessary action in creating a safe place. It is not fair to men or anybody else who has to go through this!