Child Sexual Abuse, Ep 1: ‘He Abused Me While Dad Was in Hospital’

“I’m just showing you my love,” he would say while the rest of my family was in hospital, visiting my dad.

Updated16 Dec 2019, 11:21 AM IST
Gender
4 min read

Video Editors: Kunal Mehra, Prashant Chauhan

Sometimes, it’s an isolated incident. A single day, night, memory that sticks out like a sore spot on the skin, where you were touched. Sometimes, it’s many incidents – recurring over many days and many nights – that stick out, the same way, like sore spots on the skin, where you were touched.

The sore spots turn into blank spaces in many child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors’ memories – who bury the abuse and often return to confront it, as adults. They return, either with determination to find some semblance of justice, or with the hope that speaking about their stories will help someone today, to speak about theirs.

The Quint spoke to a few adult survivors of CSA and these are their stories.

This is Episode 1 and is the story of Ishadrita, 26, who lives in Kolkata.

Transcript of the Audio:

The time period that I’m talking about, the time period of abuse,
was between the ages of 9 to 13.

So, I remember how it started, like, I remember the exact moment.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was
but this person, who did it for the longest time,
he was – you could call him a family friend?
Like, he was my aunt’s husband’s nephew or something, I don’t know.
He was someone from their side, so he was a very distant relative.
And he used to spend a lot of time at our house.
I remember distinctly that there was some time,
you know, when he came home,
and I just hugged him, because he got me a chocolate or something,
and it was a very innocent hug.

And I remember, later that day, is when it started.

My father passed away when I was 11,
and about a year and a half before that, he had a massive attack.
He was a lung patient, and he had a lung disease,
and he had a very bad attack, so much so that, at that point
we had thought we would probably lose him.
So, he was in hospital for a long period of time,
at which point I was alone at home for most of the time,
because my brother, at that point,
was not at home and he was outside, studying engineering.
My mother would be at the hospital and I would be at home,
and this guy would, you know,
come home on the pretext of seeing me
and then, it would just happen.
Like, he would touch me all over, he would grope me,
and he would rub himself against me.
You know, from time to time, he would ask me,
“I hope you don’t mind, right? Ami tomake ador korchi.”
This is, I’m just showing my love.

In the time when my father had this major attack
and in the time of recovery, when he came back from the hospital also,
I was staying for a long time with my aunt and uncle.
This guy also used to stay with them many times.
Many a times, they would leave me alone –
like, they would leave him to babysit me,
and there was a free pass for him to do anything that he wanted to do.

I remember I used to avoid him, like,
if he was sitting on the bed, I would sit on the floor.
Eventually, I don’t remember how it stopped, but he kind of phased out of my life.
I remember just feeling at that point,
that there was so much happening on my father’s end,
there was so much my mother was going through anyway,
I just felt like, the fact that this was happening to me
and that I did not particularly like it,
was not something I should have articulated.

Later, I figured out that maybe, I should have probably said that to them
because that, I have a feeling,
to a certain extent, festered.
I would blame my mother or my brother, who is 11 years older to me,
for not paying enough attention or knowing their child enough
to figure out that something was wrong.
That feeling has long gone.
It has gone with certain amounts of therapy.

You know, funnily enough, I can’t – like, if I had to –
I can’t even properly recall his entire face.
But there are times when I think about it
and I can just feel my body feeling the same touch again.
I mean, I don’t know how to explain it.
I can feel that feeling that I felt at that point in time.
That is something that is really difficult to shake off.

I have never thought of approaching this legally at all,
because this person, this perpetrator actually left my life
without me actually doing anything, it was a gradual process.
And secondly, after a point in time,
it really stopped mattering who the person who was doing it, was.
Like right now, honestly, it doesn’t matter to me
whether that guy is brought to the book for my crime,
because I just feel like it would bring back a lot of unpleasant memories
if I go back, and it’s just not something that I want to get deep into,
at this point in time, because the repercussions –
I honestly don’t think I have the strength to deal with right now.

But what I had a problem with,
was that I felt my family should pay for it,
for not protecting me, and that is something that I have walked with
and that is something that I would much rather –
if I had to work on something –
that is what I would work on,
rather than getting some kind of legal retribution.

I think, because of the incident,
since my teenage life and all through my adult life,
I have stopped paying as much importance
or stopped assigning as much importance to sex
or sexual activities as I think, a lot of people do.
There’s a certain kind of sacredness
that certain people assign to sex
which I have never assigned.

That has led me to be the victim of slut-shaming.
That has led me to a lot of misunderstandings.
That has led me to a lot of mental harassment
and heartbreak for different reasons,
but yeah, I am what people would colloquially call “sexually easy”,
quote unquote.

There have been multiple incidents
at multiple places by multiple other people,
but this is really what, I would say, has stayed on,
and will stay on for the rest of my life.

(The Quint will be publishing these audio stories of real individuals over the next week – who narrate to us their trauma of child sexual abuse and how they’ve chosen to heal. If YOU have a story that you’re comfortable sharing with The Quint, please write to us at myreport@thequint.com. Your identity will be kept anonymous, should you choose to do so.)

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Published: 16 Dec 2019, 04:24 AM IST
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