When I talk about survivors, I don’t mean the ones fighting in wars. I’m referring to all the women who are survivors of abuse, violence, threats, eve-teasing, or anything that altered their life. When you read this title, I know you will think this may be yet another motivational post. As I’m sitting on my bed with various thoughts in my head, I don’t want to say words like ‘you will be fine’ or ‘you are a woman; this is your life.’
We have heard this enough plenty of times. As a woman in her 20s, I grew up facing things that almost every woman goes through in their life. Through this post, I’m not going to comfort you or say meaningless things to cheer you up. Instead, I want to tell you my story.
So, this is a monologue from one woman to another! I hope at least a bit of this helps you in any way.
I’m not bluffing it. It’s the statistics talking! According to a survey, 730 women worldwide reported experiencing gender-based violence in any form. The eye-widening statement you can read is how women aged between 15-49 are to experience violence higher.
Unfortunately, you and I are a part of these statistics, aren’t we?
As much sad as it is to know this, I have run out of words to describe how it feels when you see women going through things we didn’t expect. Being a survivor of gender-based violence is not easy. The world can throw words like ‘it’s okay’ or ‘you are strong’ at your face. But is that all you want to hear? Does that make it better?
I grew up being subjected to violence. It came in different forms even from people I didn’t even imagine. As a child, this was all too much to understand. I couldn’t understand if this was okay or what was happening around me. I saw other women being subjected to abuse, but I was too numb to know how to help them. In all honesty, I was too afraid to speak.
I have blurry memories of things I’m trying so hard to forget. Sometimes I think shutting myself would be the best solution, not talking about it forever. There are various memories that I have locked inside a suitcase and kept as far as possible. Honestly, I’m scared to open that suitcase, afraid it will all come undone and spill because the case is too overpacked compared to its space.
I know every woman has gone through something or another thing that always made her scared to do things. Listen to me close. I’m one of you too. As I’m writing this, I’m scared of how my words will be perceived, but I know that writing this will help me and maybe at least one woman out there.
You didn’t deserve to face what you did. No one does. I know how difficult it is to keep going when you only want to erase a certain part of your memories. I notice that you flinch when someone raises their voice or hands, even if the person does not intend to hurt you. I’m no expert, but I can see your body language change you as the memories of certain events flash right in front of your eyes.
We have seen how women have been fighting for a minimum over the years. We, as women, are trying so hard just to be respected, not judged, and not be subjected to the injustice that men do to us. The harsh reality is we are not going to change overnight. We cannot change the mentality of millions.
Gender-Based Violence: Speak Your Story!
What you CAN do is continue to raise awareness. Talk about your story. Despite the hurt you are carrying, you are still here, and I’m so proud of you. Even if it still haunts you to this day, I see your efforts to put a smile on your face and continue to live life.
All I want you to say is that when you share your story, I want you to do it because someone else might find comfort in your story.
As I let go of a little part of things in my mind through this post, I want to be a woman who shares her story, and at least one person can think, “If she can go through it all and still be here, I can too.”
Views expressed are the author’s own.
Eram Shaikh is a freelance content writer.
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