I have a dear friend of mine. A girl for whom I care for very much, because we have been the best of friends since our teen years in Dubai.
She lost her father when she was seven-years old.
She was sexually abused by a friend of her father from the age of 7 till the age of 12.
I am probably one of the few people she has spoken too about her horrific trauma.
There were days when she would just run out of the house, go to the terrace of her building and sleep with her doll in fear.
She had a little sister, she felt she had to protect from the predator, who came as angel of help to her mother but he was actually a devil.
It carried on for a long time, till the age of 12, when she decided to fight back.
She tried to tell her mother, her aunt but they thought she was creating stories because she could not deal with the trauma of the death of her father.
Her sexual predator is now dead. But she carries the scar of the trauma.
Her story was the inspiration to my first novel Karmic Ishq.
She is happily married with a child. But she continues to take psychological treatment for her scars.
I knew of another boy, at the age of nine; he trusted a stranger for a car ride, in his eagerness to beat his friends in his school bus in reaching to school first, he never reached school, he was sodomised by the stranger in the car.
His parents filed a complaint and the police authorities in Dubai dealt with the case firmly and quickly.
This boy was the life of a party we attended, with his breakdance, his jokes about school and his pranks.
He just withdrew to himself post the incident.
I later learned that he came back to India. As he grew, he started to grow violent. He used to drink, smoke and even got into serious drugs.
He did not come out of the shock.
A few years ago, I heard he died of a cardiac arrest at age of 33.
I too had an violent and terrifying experience once. I have narrated only to my wife, my best friend and now on IndianExpose.
I was in the 10th grade and I was to join my friends at a Dandiya event at Al Nasr Leisureland.
I, unknowingly, brought the cab through a wrong route and had to walk a distance to reach the open air venue.
Walking on the road to the venue, which was poorly lit. I got accosted by two young men, who started to rough me up and feel me up in a disgusting and violent manner.
They were older than me and stronger than me.
I was terrified.
I wanted to scream but one of them held my mouth.
I do not know what came over me, I bit hard on the man’s hand, kicked the other in the groin, and turned back, used my key chain and scratched the man whom I had bitten, on his face and ran.
I ran, ran and ran.
I could hear them screaming.
But I reached a distance where there were some people. I felt hope.
I continued to run to Dandiya venue and found my friends. I could not tell them what happened. I was a boy, they would expect me to fight back hard. I just continued partying.
I was very scared then.
Everyday, for over a month, I feared those men, would find me and attack me again.
I was afraid to tell my parents, because that would be the end of me going out alone.
But I promised myself that I would never put myself in a position like that again.
It shaped my mind.
That fear made me a ruthless and a determined man in such matters for justice. I now have no mercy for predators that violate children, women and men.
I am sure like me there are many cases of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. These experiences can make us or break us, depending on how we deal with it.
So when people joke about sexual violence, talk about time taken to report a crime, get on with life lectures. I wonder if they felt that fear or lived with that fear for even a day, or the thought of being touched in a manner they don’t prefer.
When a sexual abuse victim read my novel Karmic Ishq, she read only the first chapter and called me up weeping profusely, because the novel brought scars of the past alive.
Another male victim of sexual harassment, a 28-year man, narrated his experience to me about how a male client wanted to sleep with him in order to give him a business order.
Because he refused, the predator called his boss, demanding the man be removed, if he wanted continued business.
So his boss questioned him on the reason. He told him the reason. The boss told the man not to worry, he called that client and told him to go to hell with his business.
#MeTooIndia will be just a fad if we do not set proper redressal mechanism for sexual abuse and harassment survivors.
We can sit and be judgemental on every sexual abuse case. We can pontificate about the hows and whys. In the end to many, it is not a real experience but a reel experience.
It only becomes real when we experience it, or someone in our family experiences it or someone in our friends circle experience it.
Then the pain sets in, then the anger sets in and then the cry for justice sets in, or you can just shrivel and accept your fate that sexual predators can violate you.
My message to all victims of sexual abuse. “Its never to late to fight back and don’t care about the world, the world will not share your pain, only you understand the trauma and you can heal yourself.”