An email: ‘Dark childhood and other thoughts.’

Sharing a heartbreaking email from a courageous young woman, titled – ‘Dark childhood and other thoughts’.

Do consider:

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? 

Dear IHM,

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

Related Posts:

“…if this thing comes out my husband will think my wife is after all not that ‘pure’ or is not that ‘untouched flower’”

‘In our families, we don’t take this kind of thing outside,’

An email: Satyamev Jayate touched a deep wound. After almost 30 years I broke the silence.

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

Sexual abuse victim thrown out of school for being a bad influence on other students.

Society cannot afford to have live sex bombs who, if let loose, are a potential threat…

In Rape Culture, we understand that if the rapist was living alone, away from his native place, he could lose control over himself.

Teacher arrested for raping six year student.

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

42 thoughts on “An email: ‘Dark childhood and other thoughts.’

  1. Lots of hugs to you for coming up and sharing..

    You are a grown up individual and a strong , a very strong and independent human being.
    Since you are away, one thing you can do is sent an email to everybody declaring him to be an abuser. I think people need to know. Irrespective of how they react, how difficult the consequences can be, people need to know.He might have done the same thing to your other cousins, you never know.. I can pretty well imagine missiles being thrown your way for such a declaration. But I sincerely believe that it would help you to openly acknowledge it and get it out of your system.

    Also tell your mother/parents how let down you feel. Let them know how bitter you are… Since you are away, this can be achieved by email. Write them and let them know..

    And the most important thing is that you should do is take therapy. Please please please do visit a good therapist who would help you to deal with the trauma..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with this advice.
      Also considering reporting him to his professional board, if he is abroad, he can lose his medical license for this. Far from revenge, you will actually be protecting his patients from him.

      I’m madder at your mother than at your cousin. Her intervention when you were 7 could have spared you years of abuse. The fact that your abuser was 13 when he started means little- if he was doing in secret, he knew it was wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart goes out to you because I know exactly how you’re feeling about this. Having to face the same person today and having to listen to your family sing songs about him while you know the ugly truth isn’t easy. Dealing with a mother who won’t tell others for the fear of disturbing the status quo even at the cost of her child being molested is painful.

    I know this because I’ve faced abuse as a child, too. I have eight male cousins, four of whom have abused me over a period of time. Two of these I have been able to forgive, because they were just as old as me, and I figured they were young and merely experimenting. Abuse from these two stopped as soon as we were old enough to understand what was going on. But the others were at least five years older. They knew what they were doing.

    My earliest memory of it is from when I was seven years old, (http://anawnimiss.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/of-memories-long-forgotten/) but I have realized over time that there were many more instances before and after this incident.
    When I told my mom she just didn’t believe me. Her exact words were – why are you telling me this now? And when I asked what she would’ve done if I had told her then, she just sat there without saying anything. I knew she would never have fought for me.

    So I know exactly how you’re feeling.

    I confronted one of those cousins – at first he was shell-shocked coz he didn’t think I would bring it up. Later, he apologized – but I don’t think he really meant it. The rest of them are still free – walking around with their heads held high. And I’m the one with all the baggage. I’m the one who is labeled “too modern to mingle with family” and “stubborn” and “not-social”. It’s just not fair.

    I don’t have closure yet. I don’t know how to get it. Will confronting them help? Will it help if I told the whole family? What if I confront them and somehow record the conversation and play it back for the whole family? Will that bring closure? Maybe. But will the extended family do anything about it apart from blaming me? I don’t think so. Is there ever going to be any real punishment aside from? I really don’t know.

    So I have decided to just let it be because going through this has taught me to be fiercely protective of my child – if and when I have one. And I know exactly what not to do if my child faces these issues. And god forbid, if my child were ever to turn out like my cousins, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to tell. My children will not turn into sexual predators. My children will not turn into the prey. Because I will be watchful. And I think I will have closure when I am eighty and my children are still safe.

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    • I found your story so disturbing anawnimiss because it sounded so much as if it could happen to almost anyone i knew and I’m sure it probably did to more than I people than I know. Hugs to you for surviving this and being able to rationalize about it so well. I agree that it’s very important to be extra vigilant especially in the Indian context. It makes me very uncomfortable when kids are forced to hug and kiss people just because they are relations or touch their feet because they are older. I have a baby who is only 6 months old but I can already see situations that I would find concerning and am steeling myself for future confrontations.

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  3. I wish you openly confront him when there is some family function and without fear of WHAT PARENTS WILL FEEL OR SAY . I will help other cousins also to speak up if they had been abused . He may be the GOD in your family but its important that on public platform you let people know . Do things that makes his public life miserable .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bring it out in the open – This guy needs to know that he cannot get away with something like this. He might have stopped doing it to you- but there are always other kids around – if you know what I mean.

    You don’t have anything to loose.

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  5. He was never too young to not know that what he is doing is wrong.. By 12 (the age he was when he started abusing you), every person knows the differences between a female and a male body and is smart enough to not touch opposite sex in a certain manner, because it is WRONG. Please don’t think he ever was just small / innocent. He was guilty, always.

    It is annoying that your mum did not stand up for you. Even if she thought you are misunderstanding some part of his behavior, she could have ascertained for herself and at the very least, ensured that you are not left alone with him. Thats the least she could have done. I have heard about “let bygones be bygones” but in your situation, I don’t seems to get the “how” of it. You still have to endure small talks with him is the worst it can get.

    I understand your need for closure. Can you talk to your mom now? Or your sister? May be your mom would understand now that you were not misunderstood or something. May be your sister would understand better if you guys are friendly. I don’t think confronting him would be a good idea because he wouldn’t own up and it will only aggravate the anger you feel. But one thing you must do is not compel yourself to small talks with him. This passes on the wrong kind of message. The one which says, he can carry on doing this because the victim doesn’t even understand that what he’s doing is wrong.

    I so wish there is a way to expose him. Hugs and strength to you dear.

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  6. Your primary concern should be to seek out a decent therapist and get help. No one can deal with child abuse on their own. It can lead to all sorts of traumatic disorders and problems and affect your life in ways you would never think possible. So please make it a priority to get some professional help. The therapist will also help you go through a range of emotions from identification of your feelings, acceptance of what happened to you, forgiveness, and finally, putting the past behind you. S/he can help with organisations dealing with helping people in situations similar to yours from a more practical perspective.

    That said, I personally feel that you ought to cut off contact with your family. Put them firmly out of your life. Since you are living abroad, it can be done. It is going to be a very tough thing to deal with, but overall, the best thing you can do for yourself considering how no one is interested in your welfare. You need to be around people who value you, and frankly speaking, what is the guarantee that you would not be abused again in such a family?

    Third thing is that it is a good idea to publicly inform your family about your experience. Name and shame. However, only you can decide whether it is safe to do so and whether you can face the repercussions of such an action. You would have to take it into consideration that people will pretend not to believe you but you would be doing a lot of other little girls a favour as their parents might just decide to keep a bit of distance from the criminal cousin. This has to be your own decision, however. You owe no one anything, and you already have a lot to deal with.

    Finally, is there a statute of limitations for serial rape in Nepal? If there is no such deterrent, get yourself a good lawyer and see if you can successfully prosecute this person. I have no clue how the Nepal police works but it might be an excellent idea to hire a lawyer first before you go to the police.

    Good luck! I hope you have a wonderful future waiting for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh how could your mother not protect you from that person !Even if she was confused ,abused herself at least she could have totally separated you from that guy and patrolled your life with hawk’s eye while that guy was in same room as you !!!
    Shame on your mother !!
    I don’t know what can help you with closure but don’t talk with that guy at all ! Tell people what he did if possible,… Omg there are so many monsters who roam around being all cool and nice and responsible !!!
    It was a crime be sure to know that !!
    ……..
    On a side note ,an MSc doing classmate of mine back in 2002 when we were discussing sexual abuse especially children ,very confidently declared all this doesn’t happen in India !She just dismiss d it !That psycho lady said perverts do it and only in Western countries !
    The shit sometimes educated women say amazes me !!!

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    • After reading a lot about the shit educated,old and wise,elderly people say and do, I have come to the conclusion that years, nay centuries, of conditioning can not be undone by a few years sitting in schools and colleges and adding degrees to ones nameplate.

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  8. It’s not too late, you know. You can bring it out, and tell people what kind of a man he really is. God forbid, he gets married and does the same thing to his daughter too, or a relative’s daughter. Maybe, forewarn the person whom he plans to marry. It is up to them to believe you. You’d have done your bit.

    Counseling will help you get closure, too. Think over that option too. And remember, it was NEVER YOUR FAULT. Hugs.

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  9. Naming and shaming – much as he thoroughly deserves it – cannot get you the full peace of mind you want.

    //Today, we talk occasionally. We have never discussed about it. //

    Muster strength and talk to him about it. Only his true repentance can give you closure.

    And he needs to know the reason you are bringing it up now is because of how your childhood was ruined and he needs to know the effect of his actions till this day. i.e. it is not a thing of the past but has had lasting effects on you.

    Is he a parent now? Do you think that would make him receptive?
    Assess whether this is likely – based on your knowledge of the person.

    The flipside is – he may flat-out deny it, insult your scarred memory and infuriate you more – and may then indulge in pre-emptive machinations to further estrange you from your family.

    If you think that is more likely to be the case, then you are better off naming and shaming – as the commentors above have suggested. It will atleast partially address your hurt and anger.

    From what you have described – your family’s reactions to that are going to be weird. Only you can weigh the effort of dealing with that vs. addressing your scars. All the best!

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  10. My heart goes out to you! Hugs and more hugs.
    Since you are looking for a closure, if it had been me, I would want my mother to accept the abuse and believe me, because she is my mother.
    Next I would want the cousin to be punished in some way or other. I don’t know if confrontation would work, but I would make sure everyone knows that he is/was an abuser( I rather doubt he’d have changed, once an abuser always one).

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  11. I am deeply disturbed to read about your unfortunate experience.
    Frankly, I am no counseling expert and cannot advise you with the technical competence that a trained expert can. If this disturbs you even now, you must seek closure by speaking to an expert..

    Here is some loud thinking from me.
    May be you should tell some trusted people. People who will empathize, not react like your mother did. She knew and she did not act. That was contemptible. Tell people who will act but be discreet about it. Before making an open accusation publicly, consider what the guilty fellow will do . He will obviously deny it. I am sure you can’t prove it now after all these years. He will call it character assassination and attribute it to jealousy on your part. You have stated that he is popular in the family and is now a doctor. So his stock in the family must be high. When your own mother did not stand up for you, I can’t foresee others in the family doing so. So this might turn out to be an ugly family spat and you must be prepared for it if you decide to go public with this.
    What if he and his sympathizers turn around and accuse you instead of trying to seduce him and showing your frustration when your attempts failed. A guilty fellow will stoop to anything.

    Warning people and exposing him anonymously might be a better idea. Is this a cowardly way of taking action? May be. But in your place, I would punish him in such a way that he never knows or can prove who is behind the exposure of his misdeeds. He will obviously suspect you so you must arrange for plausible deniability.

    Be patient, think this out and then act.

    In the meantime, remind yourself that you are not guilty and in no way responsible. Tell yourself that you will treat it as just one of those unfortunate things that happen to nearly all people at some time in life and that you will accept what happened to you calmly and be grateful for the many good things that will also happen to you, in future, going by the law of averages that apply to life’s experiences. This is of course without prejudice to any actions that you take to punish him. The point is that you must stop suffering and let him do the suffering in future.

    I hope and pray you succeed in finding a satisfactory closure.
    All the best to you.
    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 1 person

    • GV ji, I always value your very mature advice – however this time I have to whole heartedly disagree.

      I say so – since I have been through such a terrible experience myself. It was my brother – 9 yrs my elder and my mom passed away before all this happened. We were the only 2 kids – my dad is a great man, a person of high moral and ideals, and lived a deeply respectful, fulfilling life – even though he lost his partner – it never affected him, not in his children’s eyes. My brother sexually abused me for the longest time possibly continuing for 3-4 yrs. Well, I had initially no clue what was going on, at the start I thought thats what sisters do for brothers. But, I realised how it made me feel , I felt horrible and I knew he hid it from everybody, so there had to be something wrong with it. It was disgusting – I cannot bring it down to words.

      It stopped when he went looking for a job outside the city – and gradually he got married. We continued our very loving relationship of a brother and sister and it was like nothing really happened between us. As I grew up – I started to understand what all went wrong and I analysed my feelings towards a hug/touch from another male – it just made me cringe. I couldn’t handle my emotions. I got married and his acts and face – loomed large over my being. Somedays, I was fine and other days I couldn’t allow anyone to touch me – my husband did comment that he felt awkard with me on ocassions. Post my marriage I had very little contact with him, we stayed in different countries. But of course, whenever we met – it really was like nothing ever happened (from his side) and I stayed very very normal too.
      I have dealt with this thing – horribly – sinking into depression on occassions, finding bodily touch abhorring at times and just never being able to come to terms with it. I always wondered why my own brother did all this. I even had issues – when my son wanted a hug, I hit him very badly a few times in the night when he would want to come close to me and hug as a toddler – somehow, in my subconcious I was seething with rage. after a few years, I had my daughter – now my complexities multiplied. I was, I still am shit scared of this happening to her – I cannot cannot fathom the thought and consider it my utmost responsibility to see her safely through. I was very very cautious when she would be with any man, even as a baby. It took away my sleep and I was becoming a maniac. On one of my visits to my brother’s house – he’s back to the same city – I saw him tickle my daughter in the most inappropriate way. That was it – I just couldn’t take it anymore. In a few days from this I sought professional help – I spoke with a therapist – and this is the advice I got.
      Since this was my own brother – defaming in the family after close to 15-20 years would be no use. Not only, I risk loosing whatever peace my dad has – I risk loosing the rest of the extended family, who would be forced to take sides.
      Regarding, my daughter, I was advised to put my foot down, The therapist asked me to ask my husband to watch over how my brother interacts with her and take his opinion regarding what I felt. Mind you – in his house, I would never leave m daughter for a blink.
      Once my doubt was confirmed – I would confront him and tell me that me and my husband were both against what he did and we greatly dislike his behaviour. Remember, these devils never change. And since they feel you dont have anyone to tell this about – they gain strength from it. So thats the reason my husband had to be involved.
      The therapist said for me to be able to sort out my emotions, I need to reach out to a therapist and take a few sessions to be able to take closure on my feelings. But what I did – gave me some relief.
      I picked up the phone and told my brother very very sternly – We dislike the way you touch our daughter- she is a girl and you need to respect her and stay away. And I added a line to say – I already know what you are capable of and kept saying I know everything, I know what you can do. And then simply banged the phone at him.
      YOu wont believe the effect this had – for many many weeks – he totally avoided my husband – it seemed he was shit scared. And gradually he started talking – now, he barely comes close to her. But I am very very watchful.
      I dont recommend the revenge plotting – muster your courage and pick up the phone and give him a piece of your mind – tell him you knew what he was doing all the time- be strong when you speak – threaten him with disclosure. And then spare the family of this – trust me he will be warned and he will not step out with this himself. He may have done this to many others, and he will keep to himself. See the balance of power turn in your favor. Forget, you ever had him for a cousin.
      If you ever find him interacting with a smaller girl – warn him in his face – that you’ll be watching out for his antics and you will let the dog out. These men never ever reform.

      Finally, for your own feelings and emotions – meet a therapist – there is no other way you can sort this out for yourself.

      This is not resolved by calling it the law of averages – coz nothing makes up for this horrible experience – it doesnt leave your mind. As you grow older, you seek therapy, you break contacts …you get better, think less and keep yourself gainfully occupied. Be strong – never let him feel any authority in your presence. Threaten direct straight in his face – may be over a call.

      All the best lady!! much love.

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      • I am yet to see a therapist myself. I will have to go physically meet the therapist and of course I have not yet shared this with my husband – he only know I was worried about my daughter being with my brother – or actually any other man. So doesnt know the root cause of these issues with me. I guess this is what is holding me back from meeting a therapist😦

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        • Why haven’t you told your husband yet? It would greatly benefit your marriage. He must wonder why you are so up and down and why you avoid physical touch. It can only improve things. I can imagine it’s hard to talk about but if this is affecting you so much wouldn’t his support and love make you feel better?

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        • Hi D Gill
          I did not find an option to reply to your comment – so I am putting a response here itself.

          I understand your advice is in good faith – however I see no benefit in bringing up this discussion with my husband. Marriages are not easy to build – I have worked really hard on it. For me none of my relationships are easy to build. I find it difficult to keep up with people or I realise sometimes I lose friends along the way as I simply sometimes move on… I know this is really a result of not having a mother or a single and consistent female support I could fall back on as I grew up. Relationships are tough with me both with men & women. You may not believe this – that motherless children find it very complex to maintain healthy friendships or feel very challenged as they themselves become mothers. I have read the book – Motherless Daughters – and I would recommend it to anybody who is in a similar situations. It may not offer solutions but it helps rationalise a lot in your life.

          Sorry to digress- as it was important for me to give you perspective. Now, I do have a good marriage and frankly I can rate it close to 8/10. And I know how hard I have worked on it and on myself to keep up. Its a beautiful relationship. Fortunately, my husband has a complete family, very loving parents and a great upbringing. It shows in his personality. We have had our share of ups and downs – we have been to hell and back and we are going strong. He is very good with keeping up with family, friends, people in general and I am not. Frankly, I feel he is a much better person than I am. That said – thankfully, I have a great father and he made sure I got myself a great education, a post graduate and helped he settle very well into my career. Therefore, I am more mature given my upbringing and cirumstances. Now with these 2 personalities in the marriage – there is a limitation of what I can go upon sharing with him – I am still not fully confident of what it makes him feel about me. He is a great brother himself – so its going to me a very very hard task for me and another thing on the table to sort out. I dont see how he can support me. Also, I realise – I do feel – he already doesnt hold my brother in a very high opinion… Plus I have never really spoken to anybody about all this – first the therapist and now here. I have no idea how this helps.

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        • I am close to 12 yrs into my marriage -and I had these touch issues a lot initially – way better now. Much much better thankfully – I keep myself busy – I dont think of it daily. I excercise I read. Life goes on – these matters don’t arise on a regular basis. Thank you for asking after me.

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  12. First get some theraphy for yourself, that alone will make you feel lot better
    Second name and shame him, anonymously or otherwise,
    Third do tell your mom she failed you when you went to her, she needs to know not as some punishment but so she never repets this ever with your younger sibling.
    beyond this there is bot much else you can do. If possible let everyone know what amonster bhe was especially as he was so much older and an adult. thats the worst part. and never ever get in the sam eplace with him, Ever, snub him and make certain you keep lines of communication with your younger cousins open, tell then frankly what he did and tell them to come to you if someone does that to them. they will thank you adn you will be athe support you never got to the younger generation and hopefully deter a pervert or two

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  13. Hi,
    I have fought the same battle, i was abused for 10 long years. The trauma, the helplessness, the frustration on everyone who could not help me, the lack of confidence, the fear of opposite sex, inability to respond to the partners intimate needs, the hatred towards my mother who was the primary reason the abuser was in my life. I have been through all of this.

    I have realized the healing/closure is not what you get when you make the abuser pay for it, suffer for it. It might give you gratification but not closure. Closure is something you have to give it yourself. It might be different for different people. Please see a counselor, in my case the issues were deeper than the outer anger and disgust.

    I see you are already a strong independent woman, please don’t let the abuse cause more damage than it already has. find out what would help, for me I had to forgive my mother, accept her limitations as a normal human being. That helped me get my closure.

    All the best.
    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with tierra. the closure has to come from within. what happened will probably always stay with you, and keep surfacing frequently till you come to terms with it, and by that i mean you need to be able to put everything that happened in a box and put it somehwere in the back of your head so it doesnt interrupt you from carrying on normally. i say all this only because i have been to a counsellor myself after having been abused. it was like releasing everything toxic, it broke me even more when i was forced to confront what happened but once all the tears and anguish and upset was out, i felt lighter. i still have thoughts of it today but i just think of it sth that i overcame rather than sth that put me down. in the end it is about how you dealt with sth rather than what and why that happened…

      regarding your mother, perhaps she was too weak and too conforming to societal norms. i am not trying to defend her in any way but she sounds completely helpless and clueless herself to be of any help. i can assure you, you will never be like her!

      hope you come out smiling and live life to the fullest, the world is waiting🙂

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  14. The conspiracy of silence is as tragic if not more than the actual act of sexual violence that too against a child. We cannot be with our kids 24 X 7 but one of the most important steps in ensuring a better childhood would be to trust their versions and stand behind them.

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  15. Dear LW,

    First of all I appreciate your ability to put into words all your trauma, this itself means that you are a strong woman because I was never able to put it down.
    I strongly believe that you should NOT confront the abuser at all, because as someone above said, it will not lead to closure at all.
    This I say after personal experience. I was abused when I was 14 and in school in 9th class. This is continue till I was in 10th class and then I told my parents. My family, fortunately was very supportive and when they confronted him, all me and my family got back was “lectures” on how I went to a convent school (we are Hindus) and that is the reason I was tempted because I was interested in him. My parents were not spared either, they were constantly blamed for my upbringing and it was hell. Finally I got over it with help from my family, finished graduation and PG, worked and got married. That is when the monster came back again in the form of anxiety every time my husband touched me. I was scared, had panic attacks and would cry and shiver. I told my husband everything, and again I was lucky,my family was shocked because they assumed I was done with it as I did not show any symptoms for all those years, and infact I refused when my mom suggested that I go see a therapist because I thought I was done with it, but NO, I was not done with it. The image of that a****** haunted me everytime and finally I had to see a therapist. With tremendous help from my parents and husband I am now fine and able to have intimate relationship with my husband.
    So,considering you have absolutely no support, I do not think you should bring it up at all with family. But, your mother needs no mercy at all. Please confront your mother, now that you are an adult. Do not mince words with her and tell her how she betrayed you, how she never came to you when you needed her the most and then just tell her that because of this you are cutting contact with her.It is her behaviour that is hurting you more than the fact that you were abused, because as a child we look for security from our parents and when that is not provided, the child is hurt beyond repair. As far as the abuser is concerned, I think based on your situation just let him go because now it is important for you to attain mental peace and not teach him a lesson. The goal is to attain closure and that can ONLY be attained by therapy and resolving your anger with your mother.
    Please find a good therapist and get help. FINALLY, do not MARRY or get into a relationship till this is resolved as from personal experience I can vouch that it is hell to have a intimate relationship with any man as these incidents leave you scarred.
    All the best!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear LW,
    I agree with the others that you should talk to a therapist. Also, I think that you should let your cousin and mom know that they wronged you. You should tell your mother that she failed to protect you, and you were in her protection. They both might deny it or offer up excuses, but for your own closure I think you need to get this off your chest. Of course you should do this safely – and you know your situation best.

    If at all possible, I would cut-off contact with people who hurt you and act like they did no wrong. Since you are an independent adult now, you have the control now, to not have to meet or even talk occasionally to such people. Exercising that control helps. Confronting people who have hurt you this grievously is probably a very hard thing to do, but I think you will feel better knowing that you have stood up for yourself, whether it is communicating or by cutting off contact.

    Again, most importantly be safe. You know best. Be kind to yourself. You will do what needs to be done.

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  17. Most people above have given good. I am really sad on reading your story.

    – Definitely talk to some therapist/counselor.
    – Sometimes, you have to let go of the need to know and have closure. You can close the case within you but that should come after you have healed the abuse and emotion. No point suppressing it and never bringing it up. It is like in case of break ups. People want closure, but there is nothing one can do with the ex. It is within you.
    – I would definitely recommend any activity that helps you release your emotions and thoughts. Journalling. painting. talking about it.
    – You would definitely need to talk to your parents – both mum and dad. Not in a yelling “you never stood up for me. I hate you” way. More of in an empowered way.
    > What is child sexual abuse.
    > I was abused.
    > I informed you and you took me to the hospital
    > I was disspointed you did not protect me
    > This is why I avoid the family etc…
    > HOw this has affected you.

    – I agree with Fem. You should keep away from your family. There is no need to hang out with them or talk to anybody anymore. No weddings. Nada.
    – I would also recommend confronting the abuser in front of everyone, so that all your family knows but this should be done only when you feel strong and able to handle this.
    – Another way is to email the abuser. The more we brush things under the carpet, the more they are emboldened to continue. Name it and take back the power.
    – Another option is to tell your family calmly in a wedding or other gathering that he abused and walk out. People can pretend they never heard you react angrily.
    – Join some support group.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dear LW, my heart goes out to you. You are one strong woman to come out of this the way you did. Hugs to you and hope you sort out your feelings with the help of a good therapist.

    Regarding the advice from others, I agree with all of it. The only question I have is – some of them advised her not to name/shame him. On the one hand, I understand this may not be the right time – LW’s feelings are still very raw, she is still traumatized, and needs to come to terms with the whole thing. But what about later/in the future? Don’t we have a responsibility? To make sure this doesn’t happen to others? I feel like we do have this responsibility to report crimes. That’s what makes for a more civilized society – one in which criminals get reported, not hushed up. But then, I have never been in such a situation and maybe it is very traumatic to go after the criminal and expose him …. I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure of the answer myself. The thought that someone like him can get away and continue to go after more little girls is just so ……. maddening.

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    • I am a little surprised that no one is talking about the law enforcement aspect of this incident. Rape is a crime, even in Nepal. Even if it’s a tough journey and even if justice is not guaranteed under the system, surely this avenue is worth exploring? Like you, I would not completely understand the trauma attached but it ought still to be mentioned as an option in any advice that is given to the OP. It’s just interesting how little we trust the police that the idea does not even enter our heads.

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      • Yes, and it’s not just rape, it’s there is a child involved (statutory rape). The victim is/was a child and even with no overt coercion, coercion is presumed with statutory rape as a child is defenseless. I think more than lack of trust in police, we lack a culture of reporting because we are so used to the culture of silence and shame for the victim. In the LW’s case, the mother refused to stand up for her and refused to believe her, laying the first brick in the wall of silence. What chance does a child have when the person he/she trusts the most does this?

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  19. I have no words. Somehow in most of these cases, the parents, especially the mothers are the ones who hide the crime and encourage the abuser. If they stood for the young children, nobody can harm them. But hardly many realize this. As IHM said, it’s mostly about family honor and marriageability of the child in the future. But honestly, that abuser must be confronted once by the LW so that he knows that she remembers it. Many of them comfortably enjoy their lives thinking that the victim must have forgotten the incidents of abuse as they grew up. Shame him in his own eyes. Let him be afraid that you might let it out. I’m sure he is under the impression that the 10 year old child that he abused has completely forgotten it. Do it for yourself. It’ll help. Let it get out of you one last time before it makes you explode.

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  20. I can relate to your story. I have been sexually abused by my maternal uncle(he was very young when he did that, maybe 8 years old, we hardly have any age difference) and by my paternal uncle when I was 8 years old( he was working that time, staying with my family and knew very well what he was doing). Later we moved to a different place. The landlord’s son used to touch me inappropriately, I mentioned this to my mother and she chose not to act on it. I was hurt. I harbored a lot of anger towards my mother for this reason. I found out that she was not there for me, she was not matured to be a mother I felt. I realized theres a pattern to this. Even when I started to work, I was sexually abused by my boss. I was a weak spot. I had nobody to discuss this with.I was very angry at myself. All my life these thoughts have haunted me. I avoided any physical intimacy in my relationships, I used to be over protective of my kid brother whenever he was around any of these uncles. I realized the damage when I gave birth to my daughter. I was disappointed that being a daughter, she also has to face the same trauma!! That’s how deep it had affected me. Fortunately for me I didn’t have any contacts with both these uncles, I firmly told my boss that I will not give in anymore and slowly I have been able to get over this past. I have not forgiven them but they have ceased to have any disturbing effect on me. I do get these bouts of anger when I am filled with hatred towards these men but I realize I have to move on for my own good, I cant let these people hold me back in my past.I am fierce fully protective about my daughter now. I am a strong woman now and whenever I see any injustice meted out to a woman, I speak up. These incidents have changed me . Since you still have to maintain small talks with this cousin, I suggest you talk to him how deeply it has affected you. If he acknowledges it, good for you, if he dosent, don’t bother much, atleast you would have told him what is there in you. He will still know that he is a pest! Talk to your mother and let her know how cheated you felt. Its important for these two people to know that through their actions they have ruined someone’s childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hello LW,
    Your letter, although dark and uncomfortable, was beautifully written. Do you find putting words down cathartic?
    I imagined one of my girlfriends sharing such a story with me and my first reaction was one of loss. How can you help someone come to terms with an unfair, abusive situation?
    I would divide it into two parts: internal and external. Internal has to do with YOU. Your feelings, reactions, articulating it and being able to visit mentally what happened calmly. A therapist would be a start. Although, just so you have this info: my experience with therapists was not great. The “How does it make you feel?” type questions made me say the same things, and therefore feel the same things over and over again. I didn’t use recommendations; just went with what was available, maybe that was not a good idea. My healing came through a slightly different non-clinical, non-academic, non-scientific route (some would contest this): EFT “Emotional Freedom Technique”. I learned it from a person who works in the area of holistic healing. She worked with me for two months. It taught me a technique which I can apply in all emotional situations, regardless of location and I was self-reliant in my healing this way.
    The external part is how you want to deal with the situation with your family, two of the most important actors in this are your mother and the abuser. I would start with what final solution would make you feel best. Imagine: if your mother profusely apologized and repents, would that make you feel better? Will seeing the abuser dragged through court feel like you are finally taking action? How about sending around an anonymous letter detailing his abuse to his workplace? I am just making guesses here. I would strongly encourage confrontation and demand justice. But you should be clear how far you want to go and what your goal is. Then you work back from that goal to decide how to proceed.

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  22. I can understand what you are going through. I have been abused by first cousin and I still haven’t come to terms with it. He was my maternal cousin (mom’s sister’s son) and was at least 27. I would have been around 13. He was going to get married in 2-3 days and I had a huge crush on him. I am not sure if it is really consent when the girl is so young but I was extremely uncomfortable and don’t remember much of it now. I guess it could be because I blocked out most of it. When I was old enough to understand I stopped talking to him. I told my mom about what had happened but all she did was tell another sister of hers. That sister simply told her that it’s not possible and he’s a good kid. Hence chapter closed. Everyone knows how he hits his wife now and that they’ve been on the verge of divorce because of his flings. But they can’t accept the fact that he abused his own cousin. So much so that they even took me to his house to invite him to my wedding. My hubby knows everything and is very supportive. I guess I will never get closure but knowing that everyone in the family knows, even though they deny it, gives me some peace. They’ll be extra careful about keeping girls near him.

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    • I don’t understand what’s wrong with parents not believing their own daughters, ……they think so little of their own girls !!
      What kind of twisted mentality is this ! And this is serious stuff which cannot be brushed under the carpet !
      But maybe Indian parents prefer denial,.….when it comes to anything to do with sex !
      Parents can’t protect children with ostrich mentality !!!This is so disturbing !!

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  23. Pingback: “And when I told her about his abusing me she didn’t believe me. Now here I am all alone, deprived of the love of parents.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  24. Pingback: “According to my mom, friendship with guys should always be limited to academics, nothing personal.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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