Rape and sexual abuse are very common, but they are not often talked about. In America alone, They happen every day to more than 3 million women. It is estimated that 1,000 rapes occur, each year, on college campuses. This shows that the world still has a lot of work to do when it comes to ending the rape culture.
According to a survey by the United Nations, 14% of women worldwide have experienced some sort of sexual abuse or rape. It is a shameful statistic for all societies on the planet. Rape doe not only hurt the victim but also everyone adjacent to her. Rape victims and their families are tortured in various ways including the treatment of the media for the female victims. Society by its diverse colors and swaths blames the victim one way or another.
Testimonial of Nikita Raje’s Rape
It is a painful journey that no woman in life should ever experience. However, for that reason, we need to understand the plight of women and work harder for women’s safety. To discuss this issue further, we got connected to Nikita Raje. She has gone through this pain when she didn’t even know how grave it was.
“I’m Nikita Raje. I am a lawyer and I work with an NGO to spread awareness regarding sexual harassment and rape. It happened to me when I was too young to understand the outcome of this gruesome act.”
Nikita’s Early Abuse
“I was hardly 8 years old when my dad’s colleague assaulted me. At that time, I was playing in my dad’s office and I felt thirsty. So, he told me to accompany him. He picked me up in his arms and made me sit on his lap. I didn’t know what he was doing at that time.
He caressed my breasts, squeezed them, and kissed me. After a while, he allowed me to go. I didn’t understand anything. I thought he was playing with me so I went away silently without telling anyone.
Next time, I was in my car with my family and him. I was feeling sleepy so he asked me to keep my head in his lap. Then he wrapped my body with a shawl and again touched it. My parents were right there but they didn’t have any idea of the things going on right in front of their eyes.
Looking back at the incident, I feel like we should teach kids about good touch and bad touch. As there are people in our society who don’t cherish or respect children’s innocence, and rather take advantage of it. That is why I think education must be given at an early age, so kids can understand what is happening to them. Then again, another incident occurred that directed my life on the path of devastation and pain.
Nikita’s Pain Continued
“A while later, my father hired a driver. He seemed like a decent man as he’d help my father by washing the car and doing other chores. Now, when I think about it, I realize he did everything to impress him so he could gain his trust.”
That day, we were going to Pune to collect the death certificate of my grandmother. I was sitting in the back seat without knowing he was looking for a chance to touch me. He attempted when he got the chance. It was gentle so I thought maybe I’m overthinking and he wasn’t doing it on purpose but then it got worse. Because the abuse continued for the next 14 years and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
His touch affected my mental health, self-esteem, and physical health negatively. I used to stay quiet whenever it would happen. At times, I wouldn’t sleep at night properly to avoid the trauma. I had issues with conveying my feelings to others. I had become an aggrieved child who didn’t know what to do with the pain or how to open up about it.
With passing time, his attempts increased. He’d touch me, kiss me, rape me, grope me, whenever there was no chance of him getting caught. He even used to play porn movies and enact them. Sometimes he would shamelessly record these moments! I’ve forgotten the count of incidents that happened to me. Now, I hate each moment I’ve spent with him.”
Speaking Up About Rape
“Sometimes, I tried scaring him by saying ‘I’ll reveal it to everyone.’ However, it wasn’t enough to terrify him because he knew I wouldn’t dare to disclose it. To tame my confidence, he’d say ‘No one will believe you because you didn’t reveal it earlier. Now, it’s too late to say anything.’ His threats would shut me up.
Then one day, I disclosed everything in front of my friends. They encouraged me to reveal it to my parents. It took a lot of courage to do that but I didn’t have any strength left inside me to conceal the truth. So I finally admitted it. After coming to know, my father was angry and hurt at the same time. Angry because he trusted the man and hurt because he couldn’t protect me. I told his wife but she didn’t take any steps. Instead, she accepted silently.
I was reeling under a trauma so my parents sent me for therapy. The therapy really helped me open up memories that I had shut off in my mind. It taught me that
“A troubled past never really leaves until you find the vitality to revisit all the pain and accept that there’s nothing you can do to change it. We have no choice but to move on from it because forgotten things are better than remembered ones.”
Getting Over the Trauma and Protecting Others
“Currently, I’m working with an NGO that spreads awareness regarding Rape, Physical Abuse, Child Abuse, and Sexual Harassment. We teach them that abusive activities like striking, kicking, shaking, or throwing a child, hitting with an object, burning or scalding, threatening a child with a weapon or using one against him/her; pushing down on his/her shoulders; standing on his/her toes; dividing into parts (pulling at earlobes); biting, scratching and pinching are not acceptable at all. Children should speak against these activities.
We teach them the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” and many other things. Our team tells them what kinds of touching are or are not acceptable. We ask them to speak about it to everyone if they have experienced it.
After going through the trauma for years, I’ve discovered that children are a precious joy of life; they bring an innocent vibrancy and spontaneity to any situation. However, it is necessary to be aware that the innocence of children can also make them targets for sexual predators. We must educate them about sexual abuse or harassment and how it can affect their minds.”
Authored by Aashna Chawla
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