This piece is about my best friend. She is beautiful; and with every passing day, I see her fight her own demons and befriend angels. I see her fully experiencing every day because she loves without restriction, without limits. But that's not the story I'll be sharing today.
Most people can find common ground with bitterness, with downfalls, the bottoming out that occurs after days, months, and years of ease and good. And almost universally, most are grateful for those downfalls because they molded us into the wiser, more experienced people that result from discomfort, that are worthy of pride and reverence. These downfalls were our mistakes, we own them and that, right there is the partial reason why these mistakes taught us something. Sadly, or might I say, deviously enough, not all minds work in this particular way. We succeed, I know we do, because, we humans, more than anything, are fighters who never lose hope. But sometimes, even though we don't make these mistakes, we still have to bear the consequences arising from those mistakes. That is what happened with my best friend. She lives with regrets from what he did to her.
He can be considered the harasser in this situation. When I type 'he', I request that you imagine a man you could trust, someone you could go to for protection, for solace. Or, maybe not. Maybe that's a bad idea. I don’t want you to go through the same horror as the poor victim. He was close to her, after all. He saw her transform; from a sweet doll to a beautiful warrior. I am sure that the thought of him visiting home always excited her. She admired him for the person he was or pretended to be at least. He used to listen to her stories; making her feel important and loved. While writing this, my best friend also reminded me about how he gave her this beautiful birthday card on one of her birthdays. She always thought that he would be there for her. She wanted him to come to her parent-teacher meetings, her beautiful dance performances. In fact, more than wanted, she needed him around so that she could have his love. She needed him to feel proud of her. She didn't realize that this could mean that he would ever want to take advantage of her.
This narrative is not about me, it’s about her. But I am human, and her friend, so as a narrator I will be biased.
I hate him. Whenever we talk about what happened, she tells me how there are moments when she suddenly sees images of the incident, taking her back to that horrible day. There is absolutely nothing that triggers these horrific visual images. They come and go as they please. She might be walking down a hallway in her college while going for a class and his face will appear. Her pain is gone, and honestly, it was never there. It was much deeper than that. He was supposed to be her shield. Please don’t get me wrong; she was very capable of protecting herself, and she did. But we all need and crave support, love, and affection from the people we look up to. But her mentor, her rock, only taught her that trust should rarely, it at all, be given out. It was all so sudden. The touch, that made her realize what was going to happen. Like I said, she had always fought her way through life and even then, she tried resisting every move his hand made over her face. She tried so hard to not let those fingers touch her lips. She wanted to scream but she was so scared. Her entire world was breaking down into these small pieces right in front of her and all her attempts to save whatever was left were going in vain. But eventually, she stopped trying. She couldn't understand why this was doing this. It was as if he had sucked the self control right out of her.
Years have gone by and now, when she comes across these stories of people getting harassed, she tries to find that control again, but fails, miserably. Maybe, having control over oneself is not an ideal to strive for, but we try to any way. She doesn’t have that control now, no matter how hard she tries to bring it back. He took away a part of her. She does not always miss that part, mostly because she doesn’t recognize it. But, when she does miss it, she feels powerless. My warrior feels like she lost. She tells me that she will never face a defeat darker than this. Every memory of the sense of his touch still horrifies her, to such an extent that she can not let anyone else touch her.
I hope that he is reading this. You know who you are. I hope that you live in a shame so deep that you feel like you're drowning even if you're experiencing your happiest moments. You are a monster. You are not functioned to feel that way. You just come and destroy whatever you touch. When you die, don't think that you'll be taking everything away with you. The horror, the hate, the defeat, the helplessness, the hurt, everything, everything will remain with my friend no matter how hard she tries to let it go. I feel like you never saw her as a human because you forced your reflection of a monster on everyone, even on a child. At the most, she was probably just a lifeless body you could use for whatever beastly pleasure you desired. Every story has a happy ending, with the pain fading and the good winning. But you didn't leave any chance for that. She feels like there is no good left in her. She feels like there is no essence of her left within herself. You've broken her so badly that every sincere cry she makes for help, just looks at her and leaves.
She could never talk to her family about this incident. As a child, she was afraid that no one would understand her, or that they'd become angry or judgmental. She was afraid of getting blamed. A part of her thought that it was her own mistake, even though she could never find a reason as to how it could be her fault. It was also beyond imagination for her to talk about the experience with anyone in the family because of the degree of desexualisation her body had gone through. It was almost impossible for her to start any conversation regarding what had happened because the occurrence seemed unreal, something out of a horror story instead of a part of this world.
Written by Vagmi Sharma