KFA Writes

My Plead to Sexual Assault Survivors

2019-01-10

(At the age of seven, her uncle kissed in between her thighs. He made her caress his privates. Not knowing what happened, she washed her hands again and again after her uncle went home. She regretted not going to shopping with her parents and staying home that day. That night, she cried till 3 am in the morning. Then, she slept.

At the age of fifteen, she felt someone thrusting her from behind in the tightly packed micro bus. Thinking it was an accident, she moved a little further. She felt the movement again and turned back. The guy behind her gave an unsettling smile and it seemed it excited him to find that she knows what he was doing. The microbus was too packed for anyone to notice her horrified face. She did her best to escape from the guy’s continuous humping, without any success. She regretted giving her backpack to the person in the seat. That night, she cried till 3 am in the morning. Then, she slept.

At the age of twenty two, she got blackout drunk in an office party. Her supervisor kindly offered to give her lift to her home. In the back seat of his car, he massaged her head and slowly started to cup her breasts. Coming back to her consciousness, she tried her hardest to push him back when his body rode above her, without any success. After being dropped home, she regretted drinking that much. That night, she cried till 3 am in the morning. Then, she slept.

At the age of twenty six, however, was, when her pattern broke. That night, her crying didn’t end at 3 am. Every incident that haunts her and makes her feel weak came to remind her why this night was a terror. No sleep could come to her after hearing the news from the doctor that she gave birth to a baby girl.)

The case above is not just fiction I created for the dramatic effect to this article. These things happen a lot in our society. Frequently. Sexual Assault/Harassment/ Rape/ Molestation/ in Nepal is much common than we think. True, these topics are more openly talked about now than ever before. Our government law also strongly support the victims in these kinds of situations but still most of the cases go unreported and unnoticed even in the most educated and developed part of the community. Well in a country where it takes more than 5 months to solve a rape and murder case with hundreds of protests revolving around that, it is no wonder that people do not report their encounter with sexual harassment and assault.

So how do we deal with these issues?  How do we make sure a woman is not horrified to give birth to a girl because she doesn’t want her baby to go through same experiences as her? How do we assure the victims that the offender will be punished and they are safe to report their encounters? I wish I had the answer to these questions. I really do. I wish by writing about this topic, I can contribute to the strict implementation of the laws. But I know I can’t.

However there are few things I have, that I want to plead the sexual assault victims with, if any of you are reading this article.

The first one is to please stop blaming yourself for what happened to you. I have met few survivors of sexual assaults and most of them are convinced that if they had not been drunk or done few different things that day, it might have been avoided. But, please keep in mind that in no circumstances or said excuse by the offender or the society, it was your fault. You’re not allowed to put that guilt on yourself as it can and has occurred to people in all kind of situations. There is only one person who is to be blamed for sexual assault and that is the offender.

I also want to request the victims to forgive the person who did this to you. I’m not taking side of the harasser/rapist/molester by saying this. I do believe they must be crucially punished for what they did but once you did whatever you can to bring justice for yourself, please forgive that person. You really need to move on. And that is not possible if you keep on holding on to your past and being angry with that person. After a while, it is important that you let it go for your own benefit. Even if it feels impossible, you have to give it a shot, one step at a time.  Do try to seek justice though. Report it to the police, report it to the HR, tell your parents/ close friends or whoever you think can help you fight to get your justice.

As per the article posted on Himalayan Times on 16th September, 2017 “Any woman who comes across persons making unwanted sexual advances towards them while travelling in public bus may call police hotline (100) or 9851289111” You can exercise your right by calling them if you experience sexual advances in public buses. They have also assured that the identity of complainer will be protected while dealing with the complaints.

But also don’t hate yourself if you can’t bring yourself to report it. Sometimes it may not seem like the right decision to you to move on and that’s also okay.

 I know there are demons that were born to make you feel powerless for losing your body to him/her that day. And some of you must be suffering from various psychological trauma related illness, resulted from that distressful event, from which you think you will never cure. You’re not dealing with it right if you put on a brave face everyday but cry every night to sleep. And you’re not weak if you can’t deal with it yourself and seek help from your close friends, family or doctors who have the power to cure you. With proper psychiatric rehabilitation and medication, you’ll actually be surprised to realize how much healing your body and mind can undertake. There are lots of online chats and counseling available now where you can meet similar victims and help each other to get over your suffering. Join the groups and share your experiences. You being able to share what happened to you is the first step towards you attempting to heal self.  So the final thing I want to request the victim is to seek help to rehabilitate and live once again. You’re called survivor for a reason. You need to rise back after healing yourself because you just cannot give him/her that power to destroy your life forever. You owe this to yourself. 

- Alisha Upreti

The Author is Corporate Communication/HR Officer of KFA.

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