Stories that remain untold #MeToo

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Zinat Hasiba Swarna:

Yes. #metoo.
I felt abused for the first time in my life when I was six years old. We were going somewhere (to our village maybe) by our private car. I have no idea how could I identify that “this guy is being dishonest and he is doing something ‘not appropriate'”. I could not define or explain it but I felt he is intentionally keeping me on his pennis while holding me on his lap. And since then I used to be aware of avoiding situations where I might need to be on any man’s lap. I don’t remember his name or face, I just remember that he was some uncle who used to come by sometimes.

Yes, it was the first time. I wish it were the last time as well. I also remember a boy, that domestic help, and the games he introduced to little me.

I was ‘successful’ keeping myself ‘protected’ from being abused by any man from 7 to 12. Oh! Meanwhile I have been abused by a young cousin (sister) of mine though! But yes, I could ‘protect’ myself. From 12 to 15 , again I needed to be careful about ‘not being sexually abused’. I used to manipulate travel arrangements (while going to shopping malls/relatives’ place/wedding ceremonies) for that (or remain ‘stiff and reserved’ when I failed to do so) to avoid selective guys so that they do not dare to touch me causing me any ‘discomfort’. But what can you do when someone keep staring at you, when you are on a rickshaw ride back from school, from another rickshaw all the way? You, a ‘well behaved’ 14 years old school girl, can just have an hour long shower back home to wash away the feeling of that look on you skin. However, that same girl could refuse being hugged and kissed by a 25 year old man and keep running away from him from this room to that room. And finally being able to deliver the message ‘keep away from me’, she did wash her face again and again to get rid of the smell of the cigarette, when everybody else were chitchatting in the drawing room and wondering why the girl is being late to bring the candle! Oh that darkness! Oh that smell! That ‘unwanted touch’ and ‘that running away’!

Yes. there was a break from 15 to 20. Then I was introduced to the crowd of Dhaka, especially Nilkhet over bridge and the bus rides. I learned to keep myself ‘protected’ various ways! I learned to ignore the way they stare. I learned to accept myself as I am, being abused and harassed. I learned to raise my voice to protest instantly. I learned to forget these stupid incidents. And I really don’t remember many of the street harassments. I am still learning to keep myself free from any prejudice or concepts of purity that made me feel ‘polluted’. I love every single part of my body whether it is touched by myself or someone else, whether it can be defined ‘beautiful’ or not, whether it is believed to be kept as ‘secret/covered/not to be shown’ or what else! I am never ashamed of any part of my body.

I do acknowledge that there are too many girls and women who are severely abused all through there lives and are not even able to take part in this sharing. I do acknowledge that my experiences were too little to be disclosed when there are too many being raped and tortured many ways. And I want to express my respect to the women standing up and living their lives fully being themselves after being raped like ‘I don’t give a sh*t’.

Taken from the writer’s facebook timeline, with permission.

Zinat Hasiba Swarna is from Bangladesh working in the development sector  since 2009. She studied Economics from University of Dhaka. Human rights, especially women’s rights, is the area of interest. Writes for bringing little changes in behavior and beliefs of women and men to change the patriarchal social structure.

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