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A sombre post; abuse

These past few weeks have been mentally disturbing for people with a heart. The Maldives local news headlines revolved around rape, negligence of newborn babies, sexual abuse of children, and fornication charges being brought against a 15-year-old victim of rape. All very disturbing!

Social media show people are shocked with the increase in the sexual abuse cases. I have been seeing comments like “what’s wrong with men these days?”

I want to shout out loud that nothing is any wrong than was before. In fact, I want to say something is going good in this society. The women are coming out of their shells. The children are starting to have confidence in parents (at least confiding in someone). The society is slowly shaming abusive negligent people. People are starting to accept that abuse is real, that it happens, and that there is the likelihood of justice being served for the victim. There is a long way to go. But still, we are making progress.

To someone who has never been exposed to abuse, it might appear that the abuse being reported is new; that abuse is becoming commonplace only now; that our forefathers were all so very innocent and religious and the epitome of purity. But let me tell you that sexual abuse of children by their parents, by close family members, by relatives, and by strangers is as old as the mankind – especially in the Maldives. I am a testament to this. I have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse.

It happened to me at my home; under the care and company of my grandmother, mother and stepfather and the rest of my half-siblings. It happened to me in the same house where all of us lived. It happened to me in the same room that I shared with my half-siblings. I am sure my grandmother figured it out. I saw it in her eyes all those years, to the day until she died. She tried her best to protect me, I believe. Her eyes told me how sorry she was. I am very sure my mother knows or at least has a sense of what was going on. She tried her best, I like to believe. But none of us said anything whatsoever. I think each of us had our own fears and insecurities eating us from inside. Mom stayed up until very late every night. She stood guard. She put a lock on the door. She changed the lock so many times. Too bad that it was only a feeble attempt at a lock that she made herself.

We were poor, almost helpless. My mother has six more children, fathered by him. She was not – is not – empowered socially, financially, or emotionally. As a child, I used to blame her in my heart and mind. I used to curse her for not protecting me from that living nightmare. But as an adult, I understand that she did not know what to do in a place where there was no justice for the inferior. It was always a man’s word over that of a woman’s. I can fathom how much agony she must have gone through trying to figure out what to do. I understand she was as much as in denial as I was. I was the one being abused and I deluded myself; believing that it was only a bad dream! So, who am I to blame anyone else?

I did what I could. I tried not sleeping at night. I tried to wear clothes to sleep that were difficult to be removed or meddled with. I used pins and needles. I don’t really know when it started. And it never totally stopped until I was 14 or 15. Even then there was verbal abuse and indecent comments and leering when no one was around. And there was his friends with their groping hands and probing eyes.

I tried my best to keep an eye on my half-sisters (they are no less than sisters in the fullest sense); to make sure they were not subjected to the abuse. I was pretty sure I did a good job of it. UNTIL, until much later the youngest sister confided in me over a long distance e-mail that she was sexually molested in the house. The implied perpetrator was her own brother! (my half-brother). It apparently came in the form of an apology from him, over something done as a child. We promised to talk over it upon my return – but somehow we were not able to. :( I felt I had betrayed her. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the brother too – for he must have been a confused human being growing up – I believe he must have seen some stuff and replicated without really realizing the enormity of his action.

Over the course of growing in to adulthood, now in the 30s, I have come across so many untold silent stories of sexual abuse – I have forgiven my mother and grandmother. I believe they, along with many other women, were helpless. Now, it warms my heart a little, every time I hear about a sexual abuse case – I weep for the child in question (for nothing will return their carefree childhood), but I rejoice for the simple fact that we are heading in the right direction. Right now, it takes a long time for any action on reported cases. In the process, the victim gets further victimized and ostracized. But at least, the abuse stops. And I like to believe, with all the media coverage these days, many people will think twice before touching a child. I hope soon there will be more widespread and more accessible counseling for children who had the misfortune to undergo such dirty happenings.

Through counseling, through awareness, through emancipation, I hope one day we educate boys and men to grow up as people who respect girl and women as human beings – not as sexual objects to be played with on whim.

I keep my abuse within myself. This is the first time I have stated this in so many words. I like to believe I have forgiven and forgotten. But I haven’t! I couldn’t! My blood boils at the sight of him. It’s unbelievable how such people can act so righteous and portray the face of innocence. Now, he is a grandfather of 10 children – 5 of them girls. And every time he cuddle any of them I can’t help keep a watchful eye. I have alerted my half-siblings as much as I could without telling them that their father is a child molester. I couldn’t stop myself and confided in a brother-in-law about it, just because his little girl goes to the grandfather too many times. I just had to tell him and he confessed he was not able to sleep that night with disbelief. I don’t know whether he believes in his heart that I told the truth. Maybe, he believes it’s my hatred towards a stepfather. Nonetheless, I am sure he will be cautious trusting his precious girl with the grandfather. I don’t care whether he believes me or not. What matters is her safety.

It troubles me to no limit that my mother is still with that man. They are old and going frail. He has apologized indirectly. I put it behind me. But I know I will never be able to put it totally behind. The helplessness I felt as a child, still follows me – still haunts me.

I wonder how many more similar untold stories are out there from the past; how many people live in psychological trauma, suffering in silence. So let’s rejoice now that it is being told. Let’s join hands to provide reassurance to the victims, to give them hope and confidence to face the world.
-----------------------

P.S.
Originally posted on my blog @ http://mindblur.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/a-sombre-post-abuse/
Image source: http://postnoon.com/2012/06/24/child-sexual-abuse-a-bitter-truth/55316

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Petunia007's picture

A gripping experience. I'm

A gripping experience. I'm happy you decided to voice out your pain after so many years, it's a big step towards total healing. I'm also glad that the helpless silence of the abused is being broken gradually. I hope there would come a time when women/mothers won't be complicit or passive to the abuse of their children.

Dear Petunia,

I don't know if this sharing is going to heal the hurt I harbor in my heart.
When it was all in my heard, in my heart I think it was easier to believe that it was just my imagination.
The moment I wrote those words down, it has has started to thrive and is tormenting me.

I need someone to tell me that this is the process towards healing. that this pain, this depression is going to go away with time.

I am sharing it here on World Pulse in the hope that someone who have gone through the healing process actually shares the experience so that I can rest my wandering mind and heart.

Thanks for your support
Amira

Petunia007's picture

In your previous silence your

In your previous silence your abuser still had a controlling power over you even though the abuse had stopped. By speaking out, you've defied that control - that's why I referred to it as a big step towards healing. Even though I may not have gone through the same experience, in other hurtful situations, I know letting go of the pain also helps. This should be the second step.
It might help to listen to others who have had the same experience but you need to realise that no two situations are the same just as no two persons have the same personality or psychological make-up. In the end, it's your choice to decide that you're not going to allow your past hurt to dwell in your heart. I know it isn't an easy task but you can get there. Just continually express your pain and bit by bit it will all go away.

amira7521's picture

taking it out of my system

You are right Petunia. Letting go is what is needed and I am sure it will help to let go of the pain too.
I am going to write it out, share it as much as I can so that I get it out of my system. Maybe that will work.

Thanks
Amira

jam_them's picture

Oh no!!!

Your story made my heart bleed.I have two daughters ,age 20 and 3.I can't imagined my daughters going through that.Any time i think of rape ,i have goose pimples.Recently ,the Nigerian lawmakers rolled out stiff punishment for rapists.I hope it will reduce the menace.The step you have taken to speak out is a motivation for many.This is also a push for me to embark on awareness campaign in my community.

Together our future is bright

Dear Jummai

Thanks for that encouraging comment. It is great to know that my post has triggered you to embark on making your community aware on similar issues.
They way I see it, only shaming and blaming the culprits by the society as a whole, is going to stop these things from repeating. Most of the time getting justice through the legal system is a lost case as often times, for the abused it is so very difficult to prove the allegations. So yes, more people need to speak out, be empowered and we all have to shame the abusers.

Good luck with your efforts
Amira

Rochelle White's picture

Praise for you courage

I commend you for being able to share your story.

I forwarded your story to a women I know who has had a similar experience with her family members and their friends. It has been years later and she is still very scarred.

We never know how much is stolen because we continue to live on each day. Regardless of pain, looking back at many of the women I know that have been raped, it takes a great deal of time to become that beacon of light that once shined, if ever it does shine again. It never is the same, but I realize that one of the most powerful things that can be done is to expose the rapist. They always seem to hide, humiliated when their perverseness shows to the public or prosecuted for their terrible, terrible behavior. The other things is in speaking up, and share your story so that others do not feel alone.

You are 100 percent right, women have been violated sexually, mentally, emotionally, and in other ways physically since the beginning of time. Today, more and more people who have been violated (both men and women) are finding the courage to come forward.

It is beautiful because it create open dialogue, support, and takes something that can make the innocent feel so bad into something that has a beautiful powerful effort to get justice. It says, you are wrong rapist, you are a rapist, and places that once accepted it are now having to overturn, public policy that allowed such dehumanizing behavior. Now, it is disgrace and humiliation to condone such acts in more and more places throughout the world.

Praise you again for having the courage to share your experience. You make so many good points.

Best

Rochelle

amira7521's picture

"if ever it does shine again"

Dear Rochelle,

Once someone is subjected to inhumane acts, it's difficult to come out of it. It's diffuclt to heal completely. It might make the person stronger or it might totally break the person mentally. but healing completely is a bit out of the question. "It never is the same".

And I totally agree with you
All of us need to work together to expose abusers. From what I have seen and heard so far regarding such crimes, it's people who are respectable in the society who does these evil deeds. For them their status is important. The key to eradicate their vulgarity is to shame them in public. We need more people to voice out their experiences.

Thanks for the support
Amira

Lylinaguas's picture

Your courage is inspiring...

It's hard to find the words at how moved I was with the revelation of your traumatic experience. What you went through and the fact that your abuser is still very much around must be continuous torture for you. But you've come out in the open about it and that is such a big step that took so much courage. I admire you so much for it. You're right. Things have changed and more victims have come out in the open to expose their perpetrators. That in itself is a step forward. Your story is further testimony that such violence even among people we are supposed to trust exists and should not be suffered in silence. I can only hope and wish that one day you can put all your painful experiences behind and really be able to move on.

Thank you for your courage. You are an inspiration to many who have sufferered the same to come out in the open.

Lylin

Dear Lylin

It is continuous torture that he is still around.

I want to move on. But I am finding that with the passing of time, I am finding myself getting vacuumed into this unknown space, a void, that makes me stop enjoying life as it is with its small miracles. I suppose I have tried to be strong for so long that I am now totally exhausted. I don't know... by sharing my story I am trying to find some calm for myselg. I am trying to find it in my heart to forgive.

I just hope to make a difference in another girl's life by sharing my experiences.

Thanks for your support
Amira

kirthijay's picture

I'm speechless. Your story is

I'm speechless. Your story is so moving, dear friend - thank you for your courage, and for your bravery in sharing this. This is a huge step to take, and my heart is filled to the brim with admiration and awe. It is sorrowful and shocking to the bone that these crimes continue to be perpetrated and the world remains blind to its occurrence. :(

Thank you for being you.

Dear Kirthi

Today, sitting here, in my 30s - I weep for that child of 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and even 17.
The realization that my baby is 9 now. And he still is my baby.
It saddens me that someone entrusted with the well-being of that tiny 9 year old was abused by the very same person.
No wonder I have never been able to trust people completely.

Me being me, independent, head strong, uncompromising I guess is just me being me.

Thanks for the encouraging words and also identifying with my agony.
Amira

VITSAF's picture

Thanks so much for sharing

Quite a touching story, you are so right its been happening from the time of our fathers, truly people are beginning to open up to share their story and I really believe that its the only way we can fight it.
Its quite similar to a story a friend told me recently about her and her Uncle who she had to live with when her father died, I really felt for her unfortunately her husband will not let her talk about it in public, but she is quietly counselling and making impact on that without going public.

Its really sad.

You are a huge inspiration to women in general, we go through all sorts and because of 'societal expectation and stigma' we tend to live with it, atimes endure it while dying slowly. I am of the group that says, lets try and tell our stories.

There is no greater healing, there is no greater counselling, there is no greater support than when the victims hears such unadultreated true stories from someone they can reach anytime.

I am proud of you!

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
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https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

amira7521's picture

Dear Ogo I have yet to feel

Dear Ogo

I have yet to feel emancipated. I have yet to get the courage to broach this subject in front of people that matters in my family. I will not be able to share it with my mother, or any of my sisters. Maybe I haven't tried, or maybe I don't even know how to try.

I just hope my sharing this story helps someone else to get a better life.

Regards
Amira

Phionah Musumba's picture

Very Touching

I must commend you for this powerful story you shared. In as much as am sorry you had to experience such, am sure the experience left you stronger than you ever thought you could ever be. We need to hold as many tiny hands as we can to bestow a legacy that is not only real, but powerfully stable as well.

Phy
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
www.galsissues.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/MalkiaCDG

amira7521's picture

thanks

that's a lovely message Phy.
We need to reach out to people out there who might be experiencing similar situations. We need to be able to reach them before it gets too late, before the damage to their psych is beyond repair, before they lose hope. We need to create awareness - we need raise our voice, as much as humanly possible. We need to reach out to the other gender too. Educating men, sensitizing them to the atrocities of their gender is important. Peer pressure works wonders.

Now, I have to also note that it's not just women who are subjected to similar abuse. There is a growing number of boys and men who face similar situations. We just need to work at a global level addressing and educating both genders to bring about a meaningful change.

Regards
Amira

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thankyou!

Where I come from, women bear their greatest agonies from their male counterparts, though I agree with you that this gender should also be educated in how to live in harmony with girls and women. It is with this in mind that in as much as my Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, which ideally should cater to the needs of girls and women, is always forced to accommodate the other gender since the girls we help from poverty stricken and/or HIV/AIDS affected/infected backgrounds have male kin who share their predicament. Thanks again, Amira.

Phy
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
www.galsissues.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/MalkiaCDG

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