They say you never forget your first time. For young survivors of assault, that phrase applies but not as nostalgia, but a nightmare. I was six when a colony boy, he was 16 or 17 I think, invited me over to his place. We would spend a fun day playing, he told me. The minute he and I were alone without supervision, he tied my hands and raped me. Sometimes I still hear my cries for help. I was bleeding when he finished.
Over a year, the older boy raped me repeatedly. Today, it’s clear to me that he was in the wrong, but at that point, internalised shame and humiliation kept me silent. I became his slave, fearful that he would tell people and they would blame me or ostracise me. The abuse stopped when he moved away from my colony.
I was 13 when two of my batch mates forced me to give them oral sex. It was a hot May day; I remember both tears and sweat running down my face as I pleaded for them to let go of me. A thin boy myself, these two were bigger and stronger. It was clear that if I resisted they could and would harm me physically. There wasn’t a soul around to come to my rescue. I surrendered.
Each time, I was too scared to go for STD checks or report the incident to the police. Being a queer kid, the looming threat of being prosecuted under Section 377 along with the boys has kept me from seeking protection and help.
In some way, I was thinking: you know this. These boys were not the first people who tried to touch me or get me to touch them even when I’d was not consenting. Each time, I was too scared to go for STD checks or report the incident to the police. Being a queer kid, the looming threat of being prosecuted under Section 377 along with the boys has kept me from seeking protection and help. I didn’t consent to these acts, but I understand that the Section doesn’t make the distinction between my lack of consent and their crime of rape. Someone has also explained that Indian law on rape is women-specific, be it in the Penal Code or the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, which should protect kids like me.
When I was younger,if there was a cop walking the streets, it meant I was protected. If a crime occurred, the law would catch up with the perpetrator. It would get justice for the wronged person.
About I was raped by two men. It was nighttime, and I was on my way home after meeting a friend. Darkness was starting to creep in, so I took a shortcut from our colony’s central park. It was empty, there was a power cut and people were staying in that night. I felt a sharp, strong tap on my shoulder. Two men grabbed me before I could even turn around.
All the while I was sobbing “bhaiyaa chodd do please jaane do, dard ho raha hai nahi please don’t.” They were bigger than I and struggled only resulting in more injuries. When they were done, I curled up in the dark corner in which they’d left me. I was bleeding.
For the next month, I was on the verge of killing myself. Self-harm bought me a kind of relief from thinking about what had happened. Helpless and feeling like I had nowhere to turn, I turned my anger at myself.
My family was concerned for me after seeing my behaviour, but it often accelerated to anger. I hadn’t told them any of the incidents, so their worry used to turn into anger and fighting. My rage grew: I would break tube lights at my school to harm myself and then cry throughout the day.
After turning 18, I finally told my family about the rapes, they blamed my feminine behaviour, clothes and hairstyle for my sexual harassment. They did not let me have tests for STDs. Soon I was made to get a “masculine” haircut and trained to act more masculine. Going to the police to report the crime committed against me, repeatedly, never came up. Everyone thought of the same three numbers: 3 7 7.
When I was younger, the police would make me feel safe. If there was a cop walking the streets, it meant I was protected. If a crime occurred, the law would catch up with the perpetrator. It would get justice for the wronged person. I never thought I’d grow up to fear the very system that should be protecting me.