I was sexually abused for the first time when I was around seven years of age by my father's colleague. Under the guise of concern, love and at the same time ensuring my father that he would look after me, he took me to a spot to drink water.
After that, he made me sit on his lap and then started touching my breasts. And when I didn't scream or protest, he abused me physically.
Another time when he attempted to assault me physically, was during a half an hour car ride. Both incidents happened within a few months itself. At times, I feel unsure whether these incidents happened with me at such an early age or my memory failing me.
The second person who violated my parent's trust and abused me was our driver. It started around the same time in the year 2005 and continued for around fourteen years.
He touched me inappropriately, groped me, kissed me, and physically abused me in ways that I find hard to describe. It has happened not just once but numerous times over these years. I have lost count of it. It happened with me at home, in the car, in parking lots, and many other places. Whenever he got a chance, he abused me physically.
Apart from this, there have been incidents of a second cousin attempting to get intimacy with me. I have been groped in buses and trains, and it saddens me to admit that this is the plight of most women using public transport in India.
I was diagnosed with depression, GAD (general anxiety disorder), PTSD and mild OCD last year and it has been an uphill battle. I was suicidal the previous year due to finally snapping under the pressure of buried trauma.
It took me three years of therapy to fully comprehend the events that have happened to me. I am still working to recover from those traumatic experiences.
My parents have been incredibly supportive and understanding. My friends have been with me throughout my recovery. I don't think I would be here if they weren't with me.
Being a CSA (child sexual abuse) survivor and having gone through this ordeal, I want to make sure that others who have faced similar ordeals don't receive hate from others.
I want to ensure that the children are respected and don't receive derogatory remarks or face victim-blaming in their daily life.
I want to raise awareness on this issue and tell parents to sit with their children and tell them about safe/unsafe touch. It is extremely important to educate children about their bodies in the prevention of child sexual abuse. Instead of staying silent, parents must raise their voice and support their children.
One never knows the age at which a predator targets. It is never too early or too late to talk to your children about this.
And to fellow survivors, you are not alone. Be unapologetically angry about what happened, but do not for a second blame yourself. It was never your fault. The fault lies with the abuser, not the victim.
I want to change the circumstances and spread awareness on this issue. I envision a world that does not point fingers at the girl-survivors, or which does not ask the boys to enjoy it and a world that understands that abuse has no gender.
I find solace in the fact that even if one child is helped by the awareness I am spreading, I will make this world a better place to be in.