Trigger Warning: Rape

“I was too young to know. I was 13. Years later in college, I was a volunteer English teacher in a red-light area in India. Often, my female students would stop coming to classes. While inquiring, I’d be told by their friends that they were sold to brothels. To understand more, I started reading about child sexual abuse. And all the repressed memories of my own childhood hit me.

I was always the chubby girl in school but I always wanted to shine. I wanted to take every chance to excel in my studies. If a teacher was taking extra classes, I’d always be the first to sign up.

I think my teacher knew I was not getting any attention for being a chubby child.
Once, he touched my hair and called me beautiful. I didn’t know it was bad.
One evening, I went to his quarters to settle my History paper’s mark. Taking the chance, he started fondling my body and it happened for a long time. Just when he was about to penetrate, there was a knock on his door from another teacher. Immediately, he told me to hide under the bed. That’s when I knew what he was doing was wrong. I never saw him again.

And I didn’t share these until 2019 when my therapist told me I was ready.
In high school, sex education given to us was a video of a teenage girl giving birth, and nothing about good and bad touch. When we went on school vacation, our matrons would warn us of expulsion if we came back pregnant.
After I realised that I was sexually abused, I started blaming myself and withdrawing. I wanted to seek help—I saw counsellors. In the end, they told me that it was my fault—I shouldn’t have gone to the teacher’s place. They added that it happened ages ago, and I should forget it.

I was taking care of three orphan girls in India while working there. I realised they were getting abused by their foster father. That’s when I knew I had to step up and do something about my own abuser. I wanted to report that teacher and went to the police. “Why were you too naive to not know? You should have known when he first kissed you!”
I started suffering from PTSD not because of what happened to me as a child, but from what people told me; and the shameful process of trying to bring my abuser to Justice.
My mother told me, I was the naughtiest kid and never listened to her—she somehow blamed it on me too. And now we don’t talk about it.
I started getting flashbacks and started imagining the worst.

I think sensitization on dealing with survivors of violence should be stepped up in the country, for every police personnel irrespective of their rank or gender in law enforcement. Children should be taught better sex education that ensures their protection.”

Humans of Thimphu with National Commission for Women and Children – NCWC, BhutanUNICEF Bhutan, and partners join the survivors’ call to empower every child with education on violence.


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