Sunday, February 26, 2017

Voicing Silence 2

(To get a background to this series of posts, I suggest you read the first one here)

I realised, almost instinctively that what had happened to me was not a one-off. A casual conversation with a cousin revealed that she too had been touched by the same person. She didn't give me details but all she said was, "that one, him, you know...he's a devil" and gave me an almost imperceptible nod. A secret code that meant that she knew about what had happened to me too. It was our shared language of shame, wrapped in silence and consigned to the deep recess of our minds.

A 10 year old me,
around time when I
was assaulted
Every now and then the incident would get an airing but I would almost dismiss it by making light of it. During joint studies with classmates from the 11th and 12th standard, two of them talked about the improper touching that had happened to them as children with an almost casual aloofness that I added my incident (for it was now entombed and labelled as Exhibit A in my mind) to the mix. Being abused was so endemic to our lives that it barely needed elaboration. Only the details of it was different. Imagine that. A group of sixteen year old girls talking about being sexually abused as if it were a dress we all owned, only in different shades. "Oh, I have that in a Dirty Uncle shade", "Mine is a Filthy Neighbour hue" or "I have many in Ugly Relative colour". Yes, that's how normal it had become, how casual our acknowledgment of it was.

Plus, it was also the time in our lives we were becoming newly aware of being targets of casual everyday assault. Like having our butts slapped, our breasts fondled, our bodies rubbed against. We were facing turbulent times nearly everyday that serious crimes from childhood were packed off to the Unwanted Archives Department. But I wasn't prepared to forget it just yet.

(This is a series of posts which will culminate in an animated short film that I commissioned and helped create documenting the sexual assault that happened to me as a 10 year old). 

Read the next excerpt here at Voicing Silence 3

No comments: