I have vague memories of when I was two years old. My uncle would come home bearing gifts with a big smile on his face. While for most kids, this would bring joy, for me, it just evoked a sense of terror. Because what followed simply made me quiver.
He would make me sit on his lap and while no one was looking, start feeling me up. The worst was when nobody was at home. He would convince my parents that I was in safe hands and that they could go out and do their chores or take a break. After all what harm can an uncle possibly do? That is when he used to take me to the room and start molesting me. While I was too young to understand what was right and wrong, I remember feeling terribly violated and uncomfortable. No amount of weeping or pushing him around would make a difference to him.
Later whenever he came home, I used to try to push him away and hit him. But instead of trying to understand the source of my anger, I was only severely reprimanded by my parents for my bad behaviour.
Several years later, when I could express myself with words, I finally got the courage to confide in my mother. Her reaction left me stunned and speechless. She censured me saying that I was talking rubbish and that Western movies and serials were rotting my brain. Though she made sure that I was never alone with my uncle, our relationship deeply soured after that incident. I felt hurt and betrayed by my very own mother and completely stopped sharing my feelings with her. I kept as much distance from her as I could.
The torture caused by my uncle impacted my life. He robbed me of my innocence and childhood, making me feel ashamed of my body and myself. I always wondered if he felt an ounce of shame. I started having anger and anxiety issues which split over in my day to day life. I could never have a normal relationship with a man throughout my youth and couldn’t stand the thought of anybody touching me.
Somehow I did get married and gave birth to a beautiful daughter and a son. But the birth of my daughter brought in a paranoia. Certain thoughts kept plaguing me, ‘what if somebody did the same to my daughter?’ I so desperately wanted her to live the joy and innocence that was taken away from me. My behaviour became irrational and it all reached a boiling point. I had two options, either to go completely crazy or seek professional help.
Counselling really helped me in getting a release from my childhood trauma. It made me realise that I do not have to be the victim anymore and that I had the power to change my life around, which I did. With counselling, I could overcome my paranoia with my daughter and also patch things with my mother. Today, I am glad to say that I share a healthy relationship with my family and live a life without the pain, guilt, anger and shame that was caused by my uncle’s vile actions.