The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Let’s talk about it


A friend of mine admitted to me and two other friends that as a 7 year old, her cousin had molested her. This made another friend recount how, when she was 11 her private tutor had touched her inappropriately. I was a coward and did not tell them that as an 8 year old, I was molested by my neighbour. I remember that day, when my young child’s brain finally realised that what was happening was not right, I ran back into my house and sat down in front of my 18-year old brother.

I didn’t say a word. Eventually, I went to find my mother and slowly told her part of what had happened – only a part because I lacked the vocabulary to describe it – and her immediate response was: ‘oh no, he would have just kissed you because he cares about you, they are close neighbours after all.’ When I insisted, she realised something horrible had happened and ran and told my brother who turned into a red fury.

But by the time we got outside, the molester had left. It had taken me half an hour to summon the courage to tellmy mother what happened. And then it was too late. Incidents of abuse and rape occur closer than we think. Out of four friends, three of us were victims of abuse. We were middle class, well-educated young girls. Our society tends to think that ‘uncles raping nieces’ only happens in rural areas, that ‘polite society’ does not see this horrendous side of humanity. But, it does.

Why can we not sit our children down and educate them about their bodies? Why is it that mothers are too embarrassed to speak to their young daughters about the changes that take place as they grow older. Young girls are scared about their first menstruation and are too ashamed to tell their family. If we cannot be open about natural functions then can you imagine the horror an abuse victim suffers when they know something ‘wrong’ happened but is too young to describe what it was? What about when they turn to their parents and say it was this cousin or that uncle who did it and the parents are too embarrassed to talk about it so they would prefer to deny it even happens?

I am lucky my family accepted what happened to me and were ready to do something about it. Many children are not this lucky because when a crime involves sex, people do not want to talk about it. When we talk about it amongst ourselves and our children, we empower children and make them capable of protecting themselves because they know it is not their fault and they know there is someone to turn to or somewhere they can go and report it. Only our voices can silence their pain.

This article was written by a Stitch volunteer. To find out more visit www.stitchmovement.com

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.