Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Sympathy Seeker...

this blog post was specially written for the csa awareness month blog . 
I remember the day when my ship had capsized and I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.  The devil that was all around me, and the deep blue sea within me. And guess what, I did not know how to swim. Struggling, I created ripples in the water. And all that the world could see is that someone was screaming… yelling, so barmy… seeking attention famously.  I held on to anything afloat – but the things that were floating were nothing but an illusion. I went deep, so deep in the trenches of pain that I could hardly comprehend what I was feeling. Morose, I wilted like the withered petals of a rose.

I was just out of a trauma of child sexual abuse. Something that I had been experiencing for the past 11 years. I was out of it. The silence and the “want” to speak had been heating up lava inside me. I wanted to get it off my system. I had spent years wanting to speak, and now all i wanted, was a ear to hear.

I spoke. I spoke. And I spoke. People were compassionate with me. Some tapped me  on my back for having found the courage to speak. Some simply cried bucket full of tears with me. I felt nice. I felt nice because I found someone to hear me out. My emotional scars were diminishing i thought. I started speaking – up and about about my abuse. About the fact that I was just merely at a merry age of 7, when i was abused. I was mauled. Clawed. And that I had no language to protest what I detest. I couldn’t object to the objects that were inserted in me. That I cried just once, and felt the pain just once.. It was that first time, and after that, my emotions had numbed and i turned dumb to the pain. At just the age of 7. I knew the taste of semen.

I know what you must be thinking while you are reading this. Some of you must have shut your screens in absolute horror. And the others, must be thinking, and many would have the question at the tip of their tongue but not have the exact choice of  words or courage to ask me… their concern is genuine, and there are some who have been up-straight-insulting.
“To shout, why you didn’t dare?” – o! yaah, people have asked me this, and so poetically, funnily, mockingly. Rhymes, isn’t it? Yes, one can but not deny the rhyme.
But had they only known what it means to be sodomised at the tender age of 7. Something that continued till I reached 18. In school, i used to get up from my bench as my rear used to hurt. And get reprimanded by the teacher. I went to the loo, only when there were none inside. Kidney bursts and private emotional outbursts that happened within me. I tried telling mom about the bleeding, and mom had no clue… she said  ”mangoes! you eat too many mangoes… and that creates heat”… I did not have the power of language then to tell her that “heat” it was, but not mine, someone elses that I was satisfying. And that, in the bargain, i was bleeding.

By the time I grew up, i turned from a boy-whore to a man-whore. Satisfying every sexual need, many sadomasochistic experiments. Experiments that i was the guinea pig for. Did I have a choice? YES!… Did I muster the courage to exercise the choice? NO! Did I share it with anyone? YES.
I confided in a friend about my “history” and he ensured that everyone geographically close and beyond knew about it. Soon, i had college walls adorned with graffiti that read “for gay sex contact harish”. When i sat on my bench, it had chalk marks written “fag”. People spoke about me- in front of me spoke so loudly that I could hear “dont talk to him, he sluts around with his uncle”. I contemplated suicide. I tried. I failed.

I had no friend. And then, I found one. A four legged pal called – Jimmy. I spoke to him. Loud and Aloud. I spoke to him. And he licked my tears. He understood every emotion of mine. And acknowledged me without judging me. That real me.

This gave me the courage. Courage to speak up for animal rights. Slowly, i started speaking up. From animal rights to human rights to my rights… i transited.  The courage to say NO. And all that it took, was a kick and loud and stern NO to stop the abuse. The abuse that lasted for 11 years.
Did my struggle end then? Not really! It was then that it started. I waged a war against the ones who violated a child’s right to be a child. I couldn’t stop offenders in this country that had no law against child sexual abuse. I could create awareness though. Make teachers,  parents and children aware about “good touch and bad touch”. And form a support system for them, should they need to speak. I started receiving counseling calls. I told them that I wasn’t qualified to counsel. But I am good to be a friend who listens. The goodness of Jimmy, and that attribute of his to listen without judging is what lived in me even after he died. A dog taught me something that even god could not.
I spoke at many forums. Openly. Even about my sexuality – which is gay. Because there is this common perception that if you are abused as a child by a member of your own gender you “turn” gay. I believe, that there are two things – sexuality and sexual habits. Sexuality is innate, and sexual habits could be born out of experiences. I did have  consensual sex with a woman. It was a one night stand, but it wouldn’t stand. (LOL).. I could either have “experimented” with  a wife as a dummy, or stood up for my sexuality. I chose the latter. I am a gay man. And I am in love with a lovely man. That’s what I am. My identity.
As I spoke about abuse. There were several calls I attended to. Just that, I cant share about that openly here. And may be, that gave people a chance to believe that I overdo things. And my very close friends, and family too, have said nasty things “do you need to do this” asks someone. “O Do you know people see you as a sympathy seeking bas!@rd” says another. And now that I have two films and a book that i underway inspired by my life, it gives them even more the reason to speak and presume that “I am doing this for my self publicity” or that i cringe too much and “cling tosympathy”.
Does it hurt me? Yes! when it comes from people who matter to me, it does. Do I mourn and cry about it? Yes I do. Do I love them anyway? YES.
One day, they would understand. That it takes a lot of self-talk, self-belief to share your dirtiest secret. And not that it is… but  that even if it was to market myself. What’s wrong? It eventually wakes up the conscience of several souls and magically helps people to heal. The sympathy seeker – me, does wake up, and speak up because I know.
“Nothing but helps a bleeding heart, than a heart that has healed. ”


Sabrina said...

Hi Harish,

I am one of the people who almost shut my screen in absolute horror. And then I realized if this hurt me so much to read, how it would have been to go through it all. I feel tremendous respect for you for coming out of this ordeal stronger and getting the courage to speak up, speak out. I do have a question though and hope I don't sound too mechanical or maybe even heartless when I ask this. But what changed in you that you got the courage to finally say No, at 18. Why couldn't you muster that courage say when you were 14, or even 16 or maybe even 12.Was it fear, shame or just plain numbness towards your own plight. I hope you understand my intent behind this question. I want to know what was going through your mind?I want to know why sometimes human beings don't find the courage to stop atrocities against themselves? I am trying to understand this human behavior.
Thank you and keep up the great work you are doing

*Aham* said...

sorry for the delayed response sabrina.

wish i had your email that i could write to you directly.

the reason i couldnt speak up is because i believed no one would believe me. i did try speaking up... i gave hints to my mother, and not once but twice but she failed to comprehend.

and to tell myself that "this happened... and this is wrong and this has to be stopped" took 11 years.

it was a bit of all... numbness, helplessness, fear...

DC said...

I wish I could hug you and say it is alright. Watched the movie "I Am" and haven't been able to get the story off my mind. I have a 3 yr old boy and I will go to any lengths to protect him. I wish you had someone to help. Again I am so sorry about what happened to you. Sometimes things happen to us because we are capable of dealing with it and bringing out the very best in us. I believe Thats what happened in your case. Thank you for being the voice for 100s of other suffering children.

Love always.

Kartik said...

First of all, Hats off to you for gathering the courage to speak up and sharing your trauma with the world so that tomorrow some other child wouldn't have to undergo a similar incident .. I'm sure that people who have kids would be able to comprehend what you're trying to say, through your blog!
Of course, as a child you wouldn't be able to understand many ''things'' that happened with you .. And this should've certainly impacted your childhood and after that too, but too think of it now .. You're an inspiration to many out there who can now muster the courage to atleast STOP these demons from taking advantage and can raise a voice against something that's not right :)
Kudos to you, Keep up the excellent work you're doin' ..
Kartik Sharma

Vidyut said...

Warm hug for the child. RESPECT for the man. Honored to meet you.

A rebel all the way... said...

Can't imagine what you must have been through, really.
And it takes a lot of courage to actually speak out about your sexuality in a country like India.
I used to be very discrete about my sexuality, but now I think I care a damn.

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