I was 6 years old and never had the support I deserved to feel empowered like I do today.
I was told to keep quiet, I was told to not create a scene, I was told that he’s a our relative – we cannot just shun him. I was taught to be ashamed. To put it on myself- as if it was my fault, as if I should have done more to stop it. I had no family support.
And I lived with this guilt and this feeling of being dirty all the time till I was in my twenties. We were taught to cover our self and never question and follow all patriarchal norms. My mother suffered a lot too with all the mental trauma and disrespect from my father and his family.
But after all this she herself tried to show me what gender roles women should follow to be acceptable in society.
I understood later where my mothers comes from and why my mother tolerated all this trauma and reason was her upbringing, her economic dependency, societal pressure of log kya kahenge and most importantly our future our education, something she couldn’t stake.
I have been alone for most of this journey. Feeling powerless and angry.The problem with my upbringing was I was never taught what self love meant and importance of resilience and aspiration of empowerment and equality.
And then I met a wonderful man, who gave me the safety to share my story and empowered me. He told me that women don’t need to please man to be respected in society. He told me you either speak up or you enable the abuse. You choose.