Finally, she hugged me tightly and sobbed uncontrollably. I could feel her pain drenching my clothes. “So much baggage she’s been carrying around”, I wondered.
After a few minutes, she composed herself and began to speak— “I was 10 years old when he first forced himself upon me. I tried to escape but he was huge and very strong. He crushed me….both physically and mentally”. Another tear rolled down her eyes, which were fixed to the ground in shame.
-‘Who was he?’, I asked cautiously.
“My school principal. I was the representative for my class and that gave him the opportunity to call me to his office often- to discuss upcoming events etc. However, he used to abuse me instead.”
“Did you tell your parents about it?” was my next obvious question.
“I told my mother but she used to always shut me up. ‘We will be humiliated in the society and you will never get married’ were her repetitive words. Also she reasoned that the principal was a very influential person and will come out clean easily. Instead, he will ruin my future and career. My career was however, ruined as I had lost interest in studies or in anything related to school.”
I waited patiently as she paused to gather herself again. “Our silence encouraged him more and he continued to exploit me for a few months. My parents eventually, changed my school satisfied that a wise solution has been reached. But my fear of school didn’t change. I stopped talking and making friends. People took me to be an introvert and left me alone which aggravated my pain”.
She began to shiver, recalling everything. I held her hands firmly, in support.
“I somehow, limped through class 12 and completed graduation through distance learning. I was always confined to my room ashamed of facing the society. He had left deep festering wounds on my body and mind which could never heal”.
“And now, as I turn 20, my parents want to let go off their ‘burden’ and marry me off…..to you. I can’t cheat you. I am not ready to marry and will never be.” For the first time, she looked me in the eye.
“It’s okay. Don’t marry me”. I consoled her. “But don’t torture yourself like this. Let go off the pain and face the world. Don’t victimize yourself for life”.
Hidden and silent emotions are one’s biggest enemy and all of the medical fraternity stands united on this stance. The sooner we deal with it, the better. So vent out all your anger, guilt, shame, fear or whatever is troubling you. Don’t be cruel and abuse yourself further. Share your pain—you don’t need to take it to your grave.
Don’t be afraid to seek help – from a friend, a counselor, a sibling, a professional or any trusted source, before the damage is beyond repair.
P.S: After some heart to heart dialogues, she finally agreed to marry me, with a resolve that she would fight against this menace. For herself and everyone. I am so glad she did!!
Author :Dr. Nidhi Jhamb
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