The last week I have been in a state of blank. I never usually get this this – ever. At the start of this week my childhood friend told me something huge. It was disgusting and for a few days after I was in a state of shock. When the shock subsided I then realised that I also had to deal with my past. I never really believe people when they say that the past always catches up with you. Unfortunately for me, this time those people were right.
My friend told me that when she was younger she had been sexually abused by somebody that lived on our street. She was ringing to ask if it had happened to me also. I was not abused by the same guy however; when I was younger I was abused too. For years I had tried to forget and repress the memory but when my friend told me what happened to her and the action she was going to take now my memories came flooding back. I could no longer simply repress and forget. The past had finally caught up with me and I had to deal with it.
I couldn’t deal with it by myself anymore and so I confided in one my best friends. She considered it best for me to tell my mum. She said that when she told her mum – whatever the issue was she would automatically feel better as she would have gotten it off her chest and her mum could either offer her comfort or advice. Either way she said it helped. I could totally understand where she was coming from. I knew at first-hand how liberating the unloading felt. After all, I had come out to my mum earlier this year but that’s a story for another blog.
In order to get a more rounded and perhaps a more adult opinion/perspective I felt it important to talk to one of my lecturers about the situation. To be perfectly honest she agreed with my thinking on a lot of things and felt that if I wanted to talk to my mum about it then I should. She also suggested talking to a councillor. I really didn’t want to because I didn’t feel like I needed to see one. I mean I know what my long-term goals from this are. More needs to be done to address domestic and sexual violence/abuse in South Asian and Muslim communities because it is more prevalent than people think. Once I move back home full-time after university I hope to make this a part of my campaigning. I am liaison to my university’s local police’s Prevent team and I have had input in community engagement events which included a family fun day and a women’s welfare event. Both events had the aim of empowering local communities, particularly women from Muslim communities.
So long-term is sorted. I need to turn what happened into something positive. It’s just getting there from now that’s proving a little difficult. After talking to my lecturer I told my mum and she was shocked and upset to say the least. My friends and lecturer were right. Telling my mum did make me feel better even if it was a little. I think the biggest issue for me is not about my own mental state because I know I will be back to my usual bubbly self soon enough but rather whether the perpetrator is still a threat. What happened could have been merely a curiosity thing, though wrong nonetheless. However, what happened doesn’t necessarily have a link to paedophilia or that it will ever happen again. There is no way that I can ever find out the truth and it doesn’t help with assessing whether he could still be a threat or help with my closure. How can you move on from shit like that if you don’t have any closure? As my mum said in life, you’re not always going to get closure on things and you just learn to move on. She’s right.
So moving on is what I need to do and it is vital that I do so ASAP. Being at such a curcial stage in my university life I need to there mentally. I will not let this get the better of me. Everything does happen for a reason and by God I will turn this into something positive. Inshallah (God willing) I will try and reach out to other victims and to include domestic and sexual abuse in my human rights campaigning.
For now, I need to try and get busy with university work (God knows I have enough to do!) and sort my head out. Although I don’t particularly want to I will be seeing a councillor on Monday.
There was one thing that helped me a lot and the person who sent it me will never know how much they changed my day and brought a smile to my face. She had read a quote, thought of me and posted it on my Facebook wall.
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”
She is a friend on my course, we aren’t particularly close and yet she holds me with such high regard. I am privileged to be surrounded by such amazing people in my life and to be honest, I have a duty to stand up and defend other people. God knows that I am not your typical Muslim/Asian woman being lesbian and all. The best way to put this is that I am unique. So with this uniqueness and support I have from so many wonderful people around me I must stand up and say the truth.
I know just how to end this blog, not as a victim of abuse but rather with a glimmer of hope. You may never know just how much of a positive impact you could have on someone by showing them kindness even if it is just a smile. You can brighten their day so much and quite possibly, their entire life.