“Why did you tell me? I mean, why did you never share this with anyone but me?”, I asked Shaluk.
She said, “I don’t know! Maybe because we were never close! I can count the number of times we actually talked. Moreover, I am more comfortable with strangers than with the people I know”.
Shaluk is my cousin. We were never close. This was was probably the very first time we had a heart to heart conversation!
It was the day of my Mashi’s (mother’s sister) wedding. She is Shaluk’s mother. Shaluk’s parents got separated when she was in class nine. My Mashi found her soul mate, Mr. Deepangshu Sanyal, two years back. To everyone’s surprise, Shaluk was very happy about this. She wanted her mom to be happy! That was all she had ever truly wished for. But deep down who knew something was slowly killing her!
It took her a long time to get rid of her abusive father, mentally! We all have known her to be an introvert who loves hanging out with books and their fictional characters rather than with real people. She is one of those shy girls who do not have many friends.
I thought of sharing her story online not only for her but also for all those girls who have silently suffered the pangs of sexual harassment. Sanyal Mesho (the husband of mother’s sister) came like a Messiah in Shaluk and her mom’s lives. He promised to be there with them through thick and thin. He promised to make a complete ‘family’ with them. For the first time in like million years Shaluk found her mother getting genuinely happy, all because of him. Shaluk started trusting the man as well. She took him to be a fatherly figure, the one she had longed to have since childhood. But who knew her happiness would soon reach a permanent ending!
It was a rainy day. Sanyal Mesho was supposed to pick her up from her English tuition and drop her home. While returning home, Sanyal Mesho lightly brushed her breasts with his hands for the first time. She felt uncomfortable but she was not very sure whether he did this on purpose or this was absolutely unintentional! His nonchalant expression compelled her to believe his being innocent!
The next day Sanyal Mesho came at their place to spend the weekend with them. Being a doctor, Mashi had to rush to the hospital to handle an emergency situation, in the evening, leaving Shaluk alone with the monster! He asked her to sit in his lap, that day! When Shaluk refused he forcefully pulled her towards him and unbuttoned her shirt. She started crying helplessly. He fondled her breasts and bit her lips. Before leaving, he threatened to harm her more if she dared to tell anyone anything. The devasted young girl did not know what to do! She tried to commit suicide but something stopped her. She could not tell her friends about this as they would ‘judge’ her for her mother having a boyfriend! She could not ask for help from her boyfriend as why would she need a man to protect her from another! And she swore never to tell her mother as this would take away from her the last shreds of happiness, her enthusiasm for life!
This inhumane torture continued for a couple of months. He molested her whenever he could, not paying any heed to her tears or her meek protests and requests. One fine morning Shaluk thought she had enough. Pain makes one strong and she had gone through enough. She decided to deal with this in her own way.
It was her mother’s birthday. She knew that the monster would again try to hurt her that day. She kept a knife in her pocket and waited for him to pounce upon her once again. With the excuse of going to the washroom he sneaked into her room. He slowly closed the door behind him and embraced her waist, slowly moving his hand towards her genitals. She did not cry, she did not scream. She waited for him to reach the climax. “So now you have learnt how to enjoy my making love to you, isn’t it, my beautiful daughter?”, he whispered in her ears. He was about to remove her panty when she suddenly took out her knife and scratched his hand with it. He was taken aback. But before he could do anything she slapped him! And then another. His hand was bleeding.
“Get the hell out of my room and my LIFE”, she said coldly! “If you don’t I will hurt you more. I will pluck out your eyes. I will chop off your penis which, apparently, has given you the power to rule over me”, she added.
“You are too tiny to do anything dear! Come say sorry to Uncle and I will forgive you. And if you don’t, you have no idea what awaits you, you little rebel!”, remarked the demon shamelessly.
“Well! I have this entire thing recorded in my cell phone FYI. I can get you behind the bars with a single video clip! Need I say more, Uncle?”
His face turned red, anger turned into fear slowly! “Don’t spoil my life! I beg you. Please don’t! I promise to never hurt you again. And don’t tell your mother”, he said.
My first reaction was, “But how can you not tell your mother? I mean he can harm her as well? He can harm so many other girls! How did you let her get married to him? Why on earth?”
She replied, “He can but he won’t! He would never try to hurt anyone again. He is afraid! He is afraid of me. I still have the video clip with me and he knows very well that I can use it against him anytime I want to. Moreover, I will always be there with my mother to protect her.”
“Why are you not understanding that, that man does not love Mashi! He is cheating her! Mashi is under an illusion GOD SHALUK!”
“You are right! But you know what? I know that man is a cheater. But I don’t care. As long as he makes Ma(mother) happy I am okay with him. I don’t want my mom to get into the same phase of depression again, which she faced after her divorce! I want her to be happy and for that I am ready to keep this tormenting fact a secret, for the rest of my life, no matter how much it kills me! Let her remain under a false impression, if it makes her happy. If a lie is the cost of her mirth I am ready to lie all my life! You people with one “complete” family will never get my point! Ma is the only one I have.”
This left me out of words. I gave her a tight hug and left their home with a heavy heart.
Molestation is an act of violence and not sex! Sexually torturing a woman boosts up male ego. It assures them that they are still the rulers of this planet! Patriarchy you baffle me! What kind of society are we living in?