Gone are the days of living in shame for a crime committed by someone else. Victims dare to speak up now, thanks to the #MeToo campaign that has been taking the social media by storm for some time now. The campaign has been shocking in its magnitude, revealing the extent of sexual perversion and aggression faced by women of all age.
In one such shocking revelation, Arunima Jayalakshmi from Kozhikode opened up about the darkest day of her life and her Facebook post has touched many raw nerves.
Arunima was on her way to school near the University of Calicut when a stranger gagged her and dragged her to the bush. The girl escaped her tormentor miraculously but the incident scarred her for years to come. It took a lot of time for her to come out of her cocoon of insecurity, inferiority complex and depression. The candid narration is an eye-opener to the threats faced by minor children.
“I can’t just write #MeToo. This is a recollection of a nightmare I faced years ago, which almost threw me off balance. I have left behind days of fear, sorrow, and depression. I have left behind a girl who could never share what she had gone through and instead kept it like an open wound.
“I was in the ninth standard. The Calicut University campus had a denser thicket around the campus. There were narrow paths to the school through the thick growth. I was late that day. I was running along the path when someone blocked my way. He gagged me and dragged me into the bush. I had started menstruating but I was hardly aware of the changes of my body and the aggression I could face. I resisted the aggressor as hard as I could. I fell down and I saw his erect penis. Now I know how disgusting a penis is unless it belongs to a man you love. That day, when I first saw a penis, I fell on my back in fear and disgust. He pulled my hair to force me up. My school uniform was torn in the scuffle. His grip grew firmer on my neck as his other hand slid down my skirt. (I am sorry if this provokes any reader but I have to say this. I was not able to open up until now.)
“I was frail but I bit his shoulder hard. His grip loosened for a moment. I ran for my life. My body was aching all over. There were cuts everywhere.
“I kept this to myself as I thought this was not something to be shared. That was a period of horrific insecurity. I was haunted by memories when I slept and when I was awake. My chatter and laughter faded away. I was scared of everyone. I wanted to be alone always. I could not continue in the school for long. I could not even sit among my classmates. I did not have any friends. I was alone. I found it difficult to enter the class and walk up to my seat among the other students. I did not appear for the SSLC exam. I stayed in my room, going through a horrible version of depression.
“Frequent counseling sessions followed. I was under medication. I was constantly looking for that man’s face in every crowd I faced. Mental disturbances lasted until I finished my college education. Stage fright and a fear of crowds haunted me until recently.
“When I returned to the Calicut University campus to pursue post-graduation, I would walk through the same paths. I still choose the same path. I have conjured him up multiple times on that path, hacking or shooting him down.
“To, the stranger who set off the whirlpools of depression in me, the man who clipped the wings of my adolescence, I do not want to see you anymore. I am no longer that little girl. I do not have revenge on my mind anymore. I only pity you. I will never be afraid again. I have fought myself to sweep away the fear and inferiority complex you had injected into me. I had many people around me who supported me in my hour of pain. My father, mother, sister, Balakrishnan doctor and Rajan doctor, who gave me tips to overcome my stage fright. I kiss those hands of love.”