In Focus

'The more you hide, the more they try to shame you'

Today, as I write, I see life coming a full circle. It has been a little over a year since I left 'home' and those who masqueraded as 'family'. It wasn't just the best decision of my life...it was the 'only' decision I took in my entire life. There was no other way to leave the trauma, the fear, the oppression and the filth behind. Yes, the oppression and the filth that traumatised me through my infancy, childhood, teenage, adolescence and adulthood. The abusive family I was a part of sheltered the perpetrators who molested me through my childhood. There were equations within the family, incestuous equations they buried under 'izzat' also concealed within a dramatically mythological and far-from-true nomenclature 'Ramayan' the incestuous lot named their 'home'.

In public view, it was a normal family with "well-educated" men and women having "respectable" jobs to show off. But, in reality, it was a morbid space from where I thought it was impossible to come out. I'd have to fight my family to do that.

I have been invited by DraftCraft's 'The Woman Survivor' campaign to share my story and tell the world how I escaped from the horror story they chose to shield together as a "family", leave behind a morbid past that I suffered in solitude, from a nightmare that didn't end for a full 31 years.... it was never a family in the first place. It was my darkest period and the only way to get out was to live a life of decency and one without fear. I had to be just by myself. But then, my 'family' would never let me.

So, in the year gone by, the masks 'family' wore started to fall apart one by one. The constant harassment in the guise of "worry", "marriage" and "concern" made me realise how foolish I was all my life. When I told my parents about the abuse I went through as a child at the hands of my uncle and others and how badly this trauma affected me, all they told me was "khud pe gandh kyon uchal rahi ho" and that I would spoil all prospects of marriage by doing so. That reaction was a given considering that they had 'lived' through a fake marriage and all in the exact manner...by putting up a make-believe relationship before the world at large. Why, I had 'seen' my mother having sex with my uncles, one after the other, while my father would look the other way. Is that a crime? Or is it 'ghar ki baat'? So, it was inevitable for a 'brother', 'cousin', 'uncle' and 'parent' to do everything to drag me back into their hell. After all, their 'izzat' was at stake.

I have learnt that the more you hide, the more they try to shame you into submission, into silence. Families like these have no true honour, they use this to subjugate you. So I have decided to expose them. They continue to use 'details' of a past, I had shared as a daughter to seek solace, to blackmail me instead! I know I have to fight long and hard and am now ready to do so, till my last breath. Those who have a similar story remember: Such 'families' have more to lose than you could ever. And, they will go to any extent to protect that 'izzat'...after all, it's all they have: The mask of respectability. Stay strong...stay you!

(DraftCraft's The Woman Survivor provides a platform for all Women Survivors to combat the horrors of convenient pratha, selective sanskars and incestuous khandaans. Write in to us at contact@draftcraft.in)