AN OPEN LETTER TO MY PARENTS

Team BBS  welcomes Rhea Bhagat as a guest blogger on big bang spot! She is an amazing writer. She had a really sensitive issue to talk about. Are we ready for this?

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“It is not tough to be a girl” -Rhea Bhagat

Growing up, I heard several cases of abuses but never in a million thoughts I ever imagined myself to be put through such a pain and categorized into the “abused” statistics that I’ve read about. But since it has happened it has taken a toll on my life.

At 19 I was groped by the shopkeeper in a handbag shop at Pallika Bazaar, I was told to take back the case because obviously harassment couldn’t be as bad as us women make it out to be and moreover his sister claimed in court that he was mentally unstable also I should watch what I wear. I should be used to hearing such statements because….

When I was six, my uncle bought me a walkman, and asked for a thank you kiss, and I sat on his lap and he kissed me really hard. My lips turned purple and he made it sound like I fell off a see-saw in the park. Never mind, if you were wearing ‘Pink Pajamas’ or played with ‘Barbies’, they don’t care. But I really wished that I should have been louder. But not too loud, a lady must be soft.

All my girlfriends must have heard these statements, they are pretty common though, “You should always ask for help but you should also stop overreacting”, “The inappropriate touch on your genitals in a bus is always your fault and you should stand at a safer place.” “You should stay in at night, because it isn’t safe out.” (Read: your home is the safest for you, your drivers , uncles , relatives are all reliable, you can trust them blindly) You can’t get harassed in broad daylight. “YOU CAN MY FRIEND, YOU CAN.” “You should always travel with no less than two boys with yourself. You need to be protected.”

“It’s not that hard to be a girl.”

When I was 10 years old, my school cab driver said he’ll drop me in the end, and slid his hand under my skirt and touched me inappropriately. “Don’t tell your parents” he said. I did not, I thought they’d think I’m making excuses for not going to school; I did that most of the time and maybe that was my fault.

Just a few years later, the auto rickshaw driver said he wanted “milk” instead of cash and caught hold of me. I did not understand that Statement either, just like a lot of you all.

When I was 11 years old, my Mathematics’ tuition teacher, pressed my chest each time I gave the wrong answer. “I’ll tell your father otherwise,” he’d threatened me, “He’ll beat you up because you suck at math.”

When I was 12, I was eve teased in the market. It was with a heart full of shame that I could not confide in my parents, maybe I thought it will be easier to forget than to have to face their anger. I was made to believe that they would not listen to me and believe the monstrous stranger who exploited my body. I don’t know if it’s my fault, the person’s fault or the parent’s fault but back then I thought I was at fault and these things don’t happen to ‘good girls’, it was god’s way of punishing naughty children. My repeated protests of being afraid and alone were drowned out because I felt my parents could have berated me.

When I was seventeen, I called for help as a drunken man tried to sexually harass me in a crowded street. Again, I could not confide in my family, because they could have blamed me for not being careful and I did not want that. The people around me seemed to walk by quicker at the sight of me being molested

I cannot help but blame only myself every night on wet pillows, that I did not trust my parents enough. I really wish no child goes through the pain that you placed me through. I do not know how you will be able to forgive yourself if karma decides to take it on you just like you scarred me. I have had to hold on to this grief all these years, and I have not been able to truly forgive myself for trusting a deceitful creature like you. But today, I chose to let it go. I chose to stop wishing I could return to that place where I felt like a helpless kitten that had just been attacked ruthlessly by wolves, because it was never my fault – I was definitely not the cause of your inability to control your emotions. I chose to let go and be free. Free from your hold. And for that, I will have to forgive you.

But I pray that one day, in time, when when you are sitting and tracing back the events of your life – when you’ll be fifty maybe and have finally matured a little – you will realise that your threatening behaviour, your manipulation and your abuse, verbal, physical and mostly emotional has scarred a woman’s life and I hope you tear into pieces, but that’s not possible, you are way too cold heart-ed for that.

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NOTE FOR PARENTS:

Dear parents,

Be your child’s fortress and their solid rock to hold on. Instead of blaming us, find the root cause of this problem that is going on. Instead of telling your daughter that she was not careful enough Tell her that you are with them always. Don’t make her feel she was wrong that she decided to tell you in the first place. Don’t ever make your daughter feel doubtful of herself, her struggle and bemoan her existence. The grief and sorrow of being molested and touched unwanted-ly stays with your daughter for a fairly longer period, don’t put the extra baggage of guilt in her head. It was NEVER her fault, It NEVER will be. You do not get molested only in the night , You can get molested, touched, raped , or hear disgraceful nasty statements by anybody “AT ANY TIME OF THE DAY” believe in your child, this is not something they’d lie to you about . Just by being there for them, can make them strong enough to straighten up hundreds of strong guys who even dare to touch them. Your presence is their confidence. You are the only people your child can confide in; don’t make her feel alone in this cruel world. She’s already too shattered. “It is tough to face it alone, It is even tougher to be a girl.”

P.S: Dear parents, you might be too strict with your kids, to teach them big life lessons, you might be extremely busy in your work (you are earning for them, I understand) or household chores maybe? But please make sure you don’t lose their trust in that pursuit, which is highly important. Child sexual abuse is a problem of our society and can be avoided only if your child trusts you. Your strict nature, might as well only aggravate the issue and you could possibly be a reason to spoil your little princess’s fairy tale. Make time for your kid. Don’t be too busy for them. Please?

Quotes Source; Being Indian

NOTE: All the ideas and opinions are by the guest blogger.

Guest Blogger: Rhea Bhagat

Editors: Bhumika Mewati

Shivani Alka

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