Living a life of dignity is never easy for a woman, especially in a country like ours. But how often have you found the reasons for such indignities to be not some men but the women around you? I have, most often.

Like every foul experience, this too has its roots in childhood. I was the cranky kid who normally wouldn’t listen to anyone and make a fuss out of things. Whenever I got fussy my otherwise caring nanny would grab my limbs tight and wouldn’t let me go until I submitted. This accompanied various sorts of threats that some elders keep posing in order to ‘discipline’ children like me.

…she grabbed not only my limbs but also my chest – really tightly.

One day she crossed the bar. By that time my limbs had grown stronger so it did not hurt as much. So this time she grabbed not only my limbs but also my chest – really tightly. Not only did it hurt physically but it also hurt my dignity, even at the age when I didn’t even know that there was such a thing (as dignity).

I didn’t know what molestation was but what I knew was that the treatment I received, felt horrible. However, what infuriated me most was my timid mother standing in a corner as a passive onlooker.

She rather dismissed my complaints saying that it was in my best interests. Was she this naive to not be able to tell the difference between disciplining children and abusing them?

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Since I didn’t know what molestation was back then, I confronted her years later. “But she was a woman”, she remarked, sounding puzzled. “She could have no bad intentions against you”, she added.

Why is it so difficult to make people realize that molestation is molestation irrespective of the gender of the molester and the molested? It’s not important what their intentions are, how you receive their act is all that matters. However, fortunately enough it was the first and the last time the nanny did something like that to me.

The memories of my childhood trauma faded away until it was revisited after almost a decade, in a bigger form. In my plus twos, we were a group of 4 friends – young girls who were obsessed with sex, inuendos, and all sorts of lewdness which was considered cool at that time.

One of us however was a total jerk with her favorite target being none other than me. In the name of fun, she would say and do all sorts of mean things to me. But the worst was when she would pull my bra strap from behind and grab my breasts, at times even in the middle of class, just for fun!

This happened day in and day out until it was no longer funny by any means. Some of the people around watched in disgust, some enjoyed it while some others simply ignored but no one intervened – after all such things between girlfriends were considered nothing but normal.

But for me, it was not only offensive and painful but also humiliating. Somehow she had an influence over the other two who would call me a spoilsport for resisting!

…she would pull my bra strap from behind and grab my breasts, at times even in the middle of class, just for fun!

Ironically she herself would go ballistic at someone even trying to mess with her hairstyle, clearly conveying that her hairstyle was more important than my dignity! Even my “best friend”, an agreeable girl otherwise, would hop on the bandwagon.

I was hesitant to report to the authorities for the fear of being dismissed or worse, mocked. It took me a great deal to get rid of her and even today I let out a sigh of relief thinking that she isn’t a part of my life anymore.

Different stages of life, different people, same experience. Just the former happened only once while the latter every day; earlier the victim didn’t have a voice while later it went unheard.

The most difficult part was perhaps the fact that such abuses were done not by outsiders but by friends and caregivers whose “intentions” weren’t corrupt. However what’s even more traumatizing is that this abuse most often doesn’t get recognized as abuse, making you doubt yourself and suffer in silence.

Since childhood, we are always warned against male predators but never taught that abuse is abuse regardless of the abuser’s gender, intentions, or relationship with the abused.

regardless of the abuser’s gender, intentions or relationship with the abused

Let’s not repeat the same for our future generation.

Source: Blogger’s own experience

Image Source: Google Images

Find the blogger: @ParomaDey

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

We do not hold any right/copyright over any of the images used. These have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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