My loss did not have any vocabulary
Guest Post by Erinyes
For years, my loss did not have any vocabulary. There was no word that I could use in my mind. There was no word for it. Only “that”. Only “that” which I could not turn around or change.
I spent years trying, silently. I spent years trying to reconcile with my loss. Loss? In my dictionary, when an action is forced on you without your consent, it is in no way your loss. Being sexually abused for a month was never my fault. I was made to believe that for a while. I do not believe that anymore. Family members ignoring that and allowing that to happen was not my fault. Family members refusing till date that it ever happened is not my fault, in any way. I believe that. But, I do feel that loss. And it is completely separate from that notion of “fault” or “honour”.
My loss has been very different to me. It is a loss of a part of me, a part of me that I must let go and grieve. It has been an inexplicable loss. In fact, this is my very first attempt to put how I feel in some form of writing and getting it out there.
I remember that stench of whisky. I remember those blood shot eyes; I remember those broad shoulders, and big hands. When he first touched my hand, my instincts told me, it was wrong. I knew it was wrong. One month. He took one month to slowly take over me. I fought for days to get inside the insides of me, to not see, not smell, not feel, what he did to me.
I try a lot to rationalize. Even now, can you believe that? It has been years. I do. I sometimes try to analyze, more on the surface. Compare and contrast, more, the general, broader picture. I try to figure out if it would hurt less if he just raped me once and for all, or would it hurt less if he didn’t abuse me for days, weeks, a month. It all started with a slight touch, to sucking my skin to putting his hands inside my clothes to more. And he did all that at home. A space that I would expect to protect me. I wonder, sometimes.
What would hurt less? What would make me suffer just a bit less? Why couldn’t I fight it out? Why did everyone question me when I cracked up and opened my mouth? Why did everyone blame it on me when I finally ran away? Why did everyone start talking about honour and respect? Was that worth more than me?
My memories become rusty. I forget the sequence. I forget the little details, the start, the middle and the ending, sometimes. I remember bits, scattered all around. And, strangely, even decades later, they are so clear. It seems like they are right before my eyes. At the end of the scattered memories in my mind is the moment, when I had tears streaming down my cheek, clothes stuffed inside my mouth so I could not shout, and a heavy weight on my body, so I could not run. I could not. I could not.
You know, in a way, my memory of the closest people refusing what I had gone through is a loss for me. It feels like death of my trust on them, my relationship with them. On the surface, we hold on strong now, like nothing happened and no chain in between is broken. But, beneath that, they are all dead to me.
I have so many questions in my mind. It is strange and naive. Because, I know all of. it I have done research on it. I have worked on it as a way of understanding it better. I have helped women who have gone through it. I fight everyday on a rational and human rights ground. I know the deal. I know it is common. It happens. It’s the culture, it’s the society, and it’s the system within which we have gone through years after years. And no one has been spared really.
Yet, I have no words to make myself feel a bit different at this time of the year. This should be easy by now.
This is not a single story. My story is not a single story, I tell myself. There are hundreds, millions and more. Does that make me feel less alone? Does that give me any consolation? No, it does not. Behind each of those numbers counted and uncounted is a woman trying for a lifetime to reconcile. Like me. So all those work, all those demands, all that we do, where does it really take us? Where is the end really? When does it ever stop?