Sharing a heartbreaking email from a courageous young woman, titled – ‘Dark childhood and other thoughts’.
1. The cousin knew he could get away with the sexual abuse.
2. The mother saw the abusive husband’s anger as a bigger threat than the child’s trauma.
3. The mother seemed to have chosen Silence as the solution – probably because that is how patriarchal societies have traditionally dealt with this and many other crimes against women and girl children.
4. I also think that fear of any medical evidence was all that mattered – so long as nobody knew, there was no obvious loss of virginity and no known premarital pregnancy, sexual abuse could be pretended away.
5. For many, child sexual abuse is more about shame and family-honor than a lost childhood. Because – girl child’s life and happiness is not seen as important, her future in laws’s approval/marriageability (or ‘honor’) is.
6. All this is convenient for the abuser – who obviously understood, even as an adolescent, that patriarchy tolerated such crimes.
The email writer says, ‘I desperately need a closure.’ What do you think would help?
I am a young girl from Nepal, living abroad by myself at the moment. Nepali society, predominantly Hindu, is largely similar to Indian patriarchal society. I grew up listening to relatives giving my son-less parents open advice on how to conceive a boy. I was overjoyed when my younger sister was born when I was about 8, but I couldn’t see the same look of happiness on neither my parents’ face nor the relatives.
This is the first time I have ever written this, and it gives me chills down my spine, but I was sexually abused as a child, starting from age four or five (might have been younger). He was my maternal cousin, the only son, who everyone in my family so loved.
He is older than me by 8 years, but he kept on abusing me until he was an adult (18). My mum’s brother’s family lived in a different city, and we visited them about once or twice a year, and that is when he would secretly take me to this room, give me some book (I loved reading) and sexually abuse me. I was so young that I had no idea what was going on initially.
In the following years, I was terrified and kept quiet. He wouldn’t say anything during the whole process but just play with my privates and try to penetrate me. I remember wishing as a child that this was not reality and that I would one day wake up from this horrible nightmare. And hence when I was about seven or eight, I told this to my mother. She was shocked but she would insist I do not to tell this to my father. She took me to the hospital under fake name to get myself checked. But after the results came out okay, she never did anything ever about it. Now that I come to think of it, I think she didn’t really believe me and she loved the son of her only brother (my abuser) too much.
I dreaded going to visit their family annually but it continued. I remember asking the innocent child in myself on why he picked me, among all the cousins. Did he know that the marriage of my parents was abusive and unsuccessful and that my mother was weak? Once he was about 17, he moved to my city and started living with our family for his college studies. He continued abusing me for a year or two under the roofs of my own house.
One day, I was sick of all this (that was the last day of abuse) and I got up and yelled that I would tell my mum everything (I had already, years before, but like I wrote above, she didn’t really do anything). Once I faced her however, I couldn’t say anything. I was already let down by her once. I didn’t say anything to anybody but I stopped talking to my cousin. I didn’t talk to him for about 4 years, and everybody in my misogynist family circle was talking about how I was a rebel child for not talking to my own elder cousin, how I was not respecting elders, etc.
Today, we talk occasionally. We have never discussed about it. My mom hasn’t said anything about it to anybody, let alone him. I hate him for ruining my innocent childhood. I still hate him with burning rage. I especially hate how he is worshiped by my relatives circle because he is the only son and a doctor. I hate how he has managed to disguise himself as a loving, responsible man in all these years. The only reason why I didn’t do anything about it after I was an adult was because I thought he was young when he did that to me. But now when I think of it, his last abuse towards me, for sure, was when he was 18+. Not too young to know that it’s WRONG to exploit a child.
I hate the guts of my mother who couldn’t even protect her own child. Now, after all these years, I still think about it often and think about what to do. I desperately need a closure.
I still turned out to be a thoughtful, fierce, independent individual despite my horrible childhood. And ever since I was old enough to understand things, I was never abused or anything as such.
– Need a Closure