Last week, I wrote about Richa, who was sexually abused at her crèche, when she just four years old.This week’s story is about a brother and sister duo, Rahul and Akriti (names changed on request), who were verbally and physically abused by their father.Rahul, 23 and currently pursuing his post graduation, spoke to me at length about the harrowing episodes.“My sister and I faced abuse for many years – verbal, physical and sexual.”My father was a violent person and he believed that despite my being a boy, I wasn’t ‘masculine’ enough. He subjected me to mental and physical torture for years because he thought I was ‘too feminine’. I was in nursery (about 5 years old) when the beatings started.Rahul (name changed on request)“Funnily, he had reservations about my sister’s sexuality too. He thought Akriti – who is four years elder to me – was ‘too much of a tomboy’ and didn’t have enough ‘feminine’ traits.”“Our father’s abuse focused entirely on our assumed sexualities. Neither of us was gay, but he was convinced that we were. In fact, each time my father would beat my sister up, he’d say, ‘Now this is how we beat up females.’”“My sister and I were confused for many years as to what was happening to us. The older we grew, the more and more violent he became with respect to our perceived sexual orientations.”Rahul talked about how the moment he turned 15, he and his sister moved out of their house.The most shocking part of the episode was when his father refused to even acknowledge what he’d done.“Before leaving, we sat down and talked about it. However, my father blatantly denied that he’d ever abused us.”“I still remember the worst part of our conversation. When Akriti mentioned that he’d abused her, he said – “Now you’re also going to say I raped you?”Rahul mentions how that was the most disturbing thing he’d ever heard his father say. “He could have said ‘I never beat you or kicked you’ – but ‘I raped you’?”“Can you imagine a father saying such a disgusting thing to his daughter?”Once our discussion had come to an end, I asked him the question that was foremost on my mind – “How did your mother react to all this?”“She always played the diplomatic role,” Rahul tells me. “I wouldn’t say she defended him always, but she never actively condemned him either. Of course, this was probably because my father held her in pretty low esteem and would often beat and abuse her as well.”Rahul and Akriti’s abusive childhood is indeed tragic. It is horrifying that a father, on the basis of his own pre-conceived notions about his children’s sexualities, would abuse them for years and scar them forever.Rahul and Akriti’s story is only one among the many that The Quint will be sharing. (The Quint is supporting #ProtectOurChildren, an initiative by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, to find lasting solutions to the problem of child sexual abuse. As a part of the campaign, Devanik Saha will be writing a weekly column where he will talk to survivors of abuse. The campaign intends to encourage people who have faced abuse to share their stories.)If you want to share your story or that of a friend’s who has faced abuse in their childhood, write in to firstname.lastname@example.org. You could alternatively also tweet to us using the hashtag #ProtectOurChildren.Let’s take a stronger stand against child sexual abuse, starting now.(You can read the previous week’s story here.)(Devanik Saha is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi.) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.