He was supposed to be my father. He was supposed to bring happiness in our lives. But he only brought pain for my mother and for me, years of trauma.
My mother told me about him after several years of her divorce with my real father. She asked me if Rupam(my brother) and I have any objections if she remarries. I was okay with it. After all, she also needed someone to be there by her side. I was 14 that time. I wanted to shift abroad for higher studies once I completed high school. Eventually, we would grow up and mom would be all alone. It seemed practical to me that she marries someone if that someone would give her the happiness that she didn’t get out of her marriage with my father.
He was a gentleman, with a great sense of humor. And he pampered us a lot. He never seemed to get tired of my endless chatter. My brother had reservations against him which faded away soon. I grew fond of him too, so did our Nani. They were going to be married soon.
But somehow the marriage didn’t take place as it was planned. Mother told me he needed time to convince his family as he had never married before and mom was divorced with two children. Mom seemed to be in despair. Her marriage with our father had estranged her from her family, who never accepted the marriage.Needless to say, they were not at all pleased about her new relationship. On several occasions, they fought and she attempted suicide. I was afraid that one day we would lose mom and we would become orphans.
Meanwhile, I was almost 16 when I noticed a change in his affection towards me. He seemed to grow more fond of me. It didn’t make sense to me until one day when I was in the lift all alone with him and he traced my lips with his fingers. I was not a child to not understand that it was wrong, but given mom’s emotional state who was in depth of depression and with whom I could never have an easy equation, I didn’t know whom to turn to for help. He repeated his perverted disgusting behavior on several occasions.
I tried my best to save myself from him. I started distancing myself from her and would give him cold shoulders which seemed to hurt mom. But there was nothing I could do other than this. There was not a single soul to whom I could open up. I was afraid because me avoiding him didn’t discourage the shameless creature; he would still try to touch me inappropriately whenever he got an opportunity. The fear had an adverse impact on my studies. In both 10th and 12th grade board exams, I ended up with disappointing grades. Somewhere in between my board exams, my mom discovered about his other affairs and their relationship came to an end. Mom cried a lot, but his departure from our lives made me happy.
After my 12th, despite my disappointing grades, I managed to go abroad on a scholarship. Life has changed for the better. I have become more confident and ambitious, but deep inside me, the panicked 16 year old Mrinmoyee is afraid of getting married. I would probably end up lonely for rest of my life. I don’t think I can ever forgive him for what he did to me on several occasions, or forgive mom for falling for such a man. And that’s a tragedy, given mom never married again. It took almost 7 years to come out of the closet and tell her what he attempted to do with me. It was too late. I love my mom dearly, but a part of me is bitter towards her for failing to save me, for failing to be there for me when I needed her the most. The experience made me adverse to the idea of relationships, made me distrust men for rest of my life. After all, mom loved and trusted him dearly but what did she get in return?
I have reached marriageable age, but I am torn between my desires and my traumas. My trauma does not let me embrace the idea of love or marriage, whereas the diehard romantic in me wants to find love someday and have a lovely family of her own. How can I ever trust a man? He had taken advantage of mom’s emotions, how do I know that the same will not happen to me ever? Mom thought he would make a fine father for her little princess; not aware that the monster wanted to ravage her princess.
But I can never forget the 16 year old me, depressed and panicked, unable to find solace or articulate her emotions to anyone. Maybe times are changing now in our society, people are becoming aware of child sexual abuse. But for me, it is too late perhaps. Sometimes, the nightmares return and I spend the entire night sleepless, not knowing what to do.
If I ever become a mother of a girl, I will teach her about good touch and bad touch and I will make sure that she is not afraid to come up to me and share her problems. I will discuss sexuality with her while she is young, as appropriate for her age. But for that, I have to let of go of my trauma first. And I am not sure if that will ever happen.
But I want to find love someday, and raise my children with all the love. Will it ever happen? Or men will take advantage of my emotions and throw me away?
Name had been changed to protect privacy.