Yesterday (July 27) was one of my uncle’s death anniversary. It’s been, how many years, since he died, is something I don’t remember. And I’m not sure if I should be ashamed for that fact, or happy that I finally forgot him. I always shut myself from any pain. The same with my Dad. I know the date, but year, I don’t know… If someone asks me, how long it’s been, I have to think for a while, whether it’s 2012 or 2011. But that’s not the point here. The topic of this post is my uncle. He’s the youngest sibling of my mom and so, he was and is loved by the entire family.. I mean the ENTIRE family.. extended too..
But do I love him? Have I ever loved him? If I should be frank, NO. I have always hated him. Or hate might be a strong word. I always disliked him. He was a nice man. He had the helping tendency towards anyone and everyone. He loved me. He cared for all. He loved his sisters so much. He was a father figure to my sisters. Everyone looked up to him, in our family, in our village, among his friends, and even in his neighbourhood.
Then, what’s the reason for dislike?
Because he was HE. See, a person can be so good to all except one, right? That happened to me. He was an excellent human being to everyone EXCEPT me. And I’m sure, if you know him personally, you’ll be shocked to read this, like many in my family and friends. There are few people who might even fight with me for marking these hatred words towards my uncle.
So what did he do to me? He misbehaved,.. No, he abused me, when I had no idea what was happening. Oh, but I wasn’t that kid who was even afraid to talk to people, who was afraid to let my parents know what was happening. But I didn’t tell anyone. Because I was afraid that my uncle might stop talking to me. Confused, right?
You should understand my childhood to understand the love and hatred I’ve for my uncle. When I was kid, during holidays, I’ve always hanged around him. I learnt swimming, just because he swims. And most of my life’s haircut (atleast until 10th grade) resembled his style. And I wanted to be a sturdy person, as he was one. So it’s like, I wrapped my childhood around his adult life. Every girl would want to be like her father. But I wanted to be my uncle, once I grew up. I have done most of the things he did at that time. Trust me, I still do have that childhood love, I had for him. It was not crush or puppy love. He was a father figure.
When the abuse started, I was in 6th grade. During summer vacation, as usual, I was in my granny’s place and the first of all the abuses started. I was back home, from long hours of swimming. We tend to forget the time, whenever we visit the well, even now. When we returned, my uncle was sleeping in the room and it never bothered me to get dressed there. Because, he was sleeping. But when I was done, he opened his eyes and even then, it didn’t bother me. I thought, he just awoke. I guess, I was way too innocent those days. And these days?? let’s not delve into those details now. He touched me and kissed in my lips. I am still not sure, what I felt at that time. I tried a lot to figure out, to understand, and to make sense of my feelings. But no, I couldn’t. I wasn’t sure whether I liked the touch or the kiss. But I allowed. I ALLOWED and he isn’t the only person to be blamed. I ALLOWED and I am also responsible. I ALLOWED and I gave him the idea that I liked. I ALLOWED and I laid the path towards everything that happened in later years.
Although, I didn’t inform the family, I reduced the lone time with my uncle. Mind you, I still do like my uncle. So whenever we play any sort of game, or have food, or anything that had my uncle, I sat opposite to him , or far from him. Although my sisters found that funny, because we used to fight on who should sit next to him, who should sit on his lap, etc., I always sat next to him and used to hold his hand so tight, as if I leave the hand, he might vanish. I have always clinged to him 🙂 My plan was to stay away from him as much as possible. Because even then, I didn’t want anyone to think bad of my uncle. So the plan worked, or I thought so. Now and then, the kissing and touching continued and I was silent. I was numb whenever that happened. I lost my senses and became dumb for that period of time. This made me distance myself from EVERYONE. Years grew and my mixed love-hate feel for my uncle too.. and my fear too. The way I distanced myself, I was afraid to approach anyone in the family, including my parents to discuss this. I reached puberty stage and the thing with my uncle continued. My grandfather passed away, so my uncle took my granny to live with him in my hometown. He took an apartment and my granny asked my sister to be with them. She grew with my granny in her village for few years in her childhood and they were so in love with her. Obviously my instinct was to say no to send my sister, but no one listened to me. I was a kid then for them. school kid. So far, it was just touch and kiss. By then when the hard part started, I was in my school final year. We all were in my uncle’s place (for reason, I couldn’t remember) and he came home drunk. I started developing claustrophobic, and I was sleeping in the terrace. He came drunk but also, he had Parotta (layered bread made in Maida) I love this particular hotel’s parotta and he bought that for us.. He woke us all, and asked us to eat. That should be around 12 AM. Although my mom and granny were irritated that he was drunk and making commotion, they were also flattered in his love. So me and my sisters (we are 3 children) ate. They all went inside, and I took my usual place. After what seemed like an hour, I felt some crawling in me and I woke up alarmed. Yes, right. My Uncle. Playing with his hand, all over me. One hand was over my mouth. He forced himself and I was bewildered. I couldn’t even move. I couldn’t voice my fear. I couldn’t ask for any help. I was raped with clothes. I didn’t lose my virginity, but I was raped. He didn’t touch my vagina, but I was raped. We both were fully dressed, but he raped me. He was done in few seconds and moved. He gave me space to breathe in few seconds what seemed like decades. The very first of my sleepless nights started then…
The fear he instilled on me that night, continued for years, and that even made me distance myself from my dad (I wasn’t close to him earlier either) and also made me build a shell and made me cringe inside it at the sight and sound of everyone. After that also, the abuse continued but not to that night’s extend.
So why opening up now, and not all these years? Because this hatred I’ve in my mind for him is so powerful that it’s stopping me from moving on. Encouraging me to hide myself. I want to break my shell and I guessed that spilling the beans would help me. Whether it does or not, lies in the results of aftermath and I am ready to take the chances here…
Also, the final and the most important reason for opening up – TRUST your children, people. Trust your siblings, when they say something like this. Don’t give them crap like, “The touch is out of love. Don’t mistake” “You are imagining things” etc., you know, I know, and they know, that this is just crap.
Don’t neglect anything your kid says. BE AVAILABLE. Show interest in your kid’s life. Discuss boundaries, touch, and media. There’s no right age. Talk to them and make them feel that they are welcome to open new topics.
Don’t let them be another story on abuse.