Sexual Abuse is one of the vilest things to happen to anyone. More so to kids, who barely understand that it is not on you, but the perpetuator of the heinousness. Harish Iyer on how to reach out

My lovely young friends, On children’s day you have already had a barrage of cliche messages. “You children are the future of our nation”, “bacche bhagwan ke roop hote hain” and all that. I have none of those to offer. I am rather going to speak about something that is morose and disturbing. I am speaking about child sexual abuse.

Statistics reveal that one in two children have undergone some sort of sexual abuse or violence. Not that it makes your pain any less, if you, the one who is reading this, has been sexually violated, but I do want to let you know that I have been violated too and so are tens of thousands of others. Sexual abuse affects everyone, boys, girls, trans and people of all other genders. Similarly people who abuse could also be of any gender.

I was a boy who was abused by man. I know enough and more girls and boys who have been abused by men and women too. Sexual abuse affects everyone. In fact, there are greater chances that the person you are meeting next has been a survivor of childhood sexual abuse than the person having a common ailment like common cold.

Now, what do you do if you are a survivor? Do you remain angry all your life? Do you spend your entire teenage and entire life with the intention of taking revenge? Do you get scared of the gender that abused you? Do you tuck yourself in the corner all your life and tell yourself that it was your fault? Or do you just keep judging every person you love or get into an emotional/ sexual relationship with and think the person could turn out to be a sexual predator? Or worse, do you take revenge on what has happened to you by doing the same to other people and feel empowered for that moment?

I am not going to preach you. Choose your own way. But I can share my experience with people for it is best to learn from other’s experiences, I have met people of all examples mentioned above, and it has not helped them. Seek professional help from a counsellor. But if that seems to far-fetched find tha one friend/ one relative who could be a confident, that you could trust your secret with. so find help with that one confident with whom you could confidently share

And yes, there are many resources available on the net. In delhi there is www.raahi.org, in Mumbai, there is www.arpan.org.in and then there is me and several others who are willing to lend our ears and a hug to you. So reach out.

And remember, it is not your fault. Never, ever, never never. So love yourself a little more. Watch yourself in the mirror and say that you love the person in there. The best kind of love, is self-love. There is nothing wrong with your body or your mind. We all fall. We all get shaken. But we rise up. We will rise up together.

The day, you start loving the person in the mirror – you will see ultimate joy in the world. I am saying it with experience. I am a survivor too. It is not my only identity, but it is an identity I wear too.

Love, Harish IyerNovember-2016

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