• Ayesha Patel

Her Too.

With time, the world will know her secrets.

Every moment of void,

Succumbing to her meekness.

To loathe a body you’ve labeled as sin.

In tuning her out, you’ve let him win.

It wasn’t her choice to let him in.

You have only seen what he wanted you to hear.

His sanity is what you ought to fear.

Ponder your moments too.

For when he’s not beguiling her,

He’s after the innocence of you.


I’ve been sitting on this, debating whether or not to share my thoughts and story. I convinced myself that it’s “too serious” for something that almost seems normalized in today’s culture through the frequency with which these stories are told.

However, the seldom helpful voice in my head reminded me how behavior like this isn’t rational and, is in fact, quite iniquitous... Sexual abuse is a form of oppression that is buried so deep in the subconscious, that I’m still uncovering such attitudes and behaviors I’d normally not think twice about. I’m coming at it from a male-perpetrator point of view since that is what has affected me the most, but I’m not attacking all men. Most perpetrators were former victims, and regardless of a person’s gender, molestation/ rape/ sexual abuse or assault of any kind can ravage one’s identity and sense of self.

Forgiving those who perpetrated these instances has always been so much easier than forgiving myself. To be clear, forgiveness isn’t accepting the behavior and saying it’s okay, but it’s releasing the control that the event has on you. Staying in a state of anger gives your past the control, it allows the event to skew your perceptions. Every experience teaches you something. Although I haven’t quite mastered the lesson since life is a constant learning process (thanks universe), every moment of guilt, shame, anger, and confusion allows for more perspective expansion.


To be touched by your own blood before you even have the vocabulary to describe the experience does not hit until you begin to perceive yourself as being at fault. The guilt is what has always held me hostage. Why I still try so hard to vindicate your actions rips at me.

Then came two more. When you’re repeatedly the subject for basically being a body somebody masturbates with, something inside of you becomes immune. It justifies the behavior even. Putting that into words is where the guilt emerges from. For those who have never experienced a form of abuse or a toxic relationship of some kind, the questions that come to mind are probably “why wouldn’t you tell someone?” “Why wouldn’t you get away?”

When something is so common, when somebody can give you even a moment of being sane, somewhere in the brain you’re prohibited from seeing the full situation until you’re away from it. When it comes to sexual abuse, the perpetrator is normally somebody you know very well. Knowing somebody and being exposed to their humane sides can force a blind eye towards their other actions. Most people who have experienced some form of sexual trauma do not even recognize that that is what happened until later. Moreover, as naïve as it may sound, I’ve honestly just felt bad exposing people. The last thing I would want for anybody is any form of negativity directed their way. And at the age of seven, even without fully comprehending the matter, the guilt and shame for calling somebody out was the mentality that affected me and caused me to remain silent for the situations which followed as I got older.

As I reflect on those events now, only the male population has directly called me out for being at fault for certain things because, to quote, my “kind personality sends the wrong messages.” Until writing that now, I internalized that and approached the world in a different way. Don’t make eye contact, always enter a situation reserved and with a guard up, and don’t be bubbly, because that can be mistaken as flirting. As I type this… what the fuck? I’m not that person, but that’s how I’ve been carrying myself for years.

Another popular response after sharing anything that triggers me (being followed, catcalled, sexually harassed, etc.) is that it’s just boys being boys; you can’t change a person, you only have control over yourself. If anything, I was told that some attention is better than no attention. In those instances, I took it for fact. But again, as I write this now, what the fuck?

It continues to surprise me all of the ways that being a woman is in service to the male (don’t get me started on sexism in the Indian culture). The subtleties (a whole other post) have been so heavily conditioned within the genders that even our initial verbal, emotional, and physical responses accommodate a man’s needs first.

With the sexism and abuse being so obtrusive, I’m not saying to hate all males and rank them as inferior, but I am suggesting that we explore the underlying needs that women are fulfilling on behalf of men. I have the knowledge of a blueberry when it comes to statistics and any concealed/ subconscious psychological motives (in terms of information that goes beyond the commonly examined biological and neurological beliefs), but I do believe in the power of discussion and the power of vulnerability to at least raise awareness of one’s concerns.

When somebody projects something onto another person (verbally/ physically/ mentally/ emotionally), there is some need being or intended to be artificially filled. I am in no way proposing a solution or justification for sexual abuse, this is just an integral part of being human. We know the majority of men aren’t given the space to open up and discuss their urges, temptations, and feelings/ concerns. More often, I’m finding that the desire to even have that option is not wanted. It’s such a foreign concept, that it’s not acknowledged as being essential until an emotional release is experienced through understanding what one needed. That requires logic though... and reflection. Not sure how often guys evaluate their actions and intentions.

Go within, allow yourself to control your needs before they dominate you. Vulnerability is only a weakness when it isn’t authentically you. Being vulnerably yourself is the most empowering way to live.

Ultimately, trauma takes you away from yourself, but the way to heal your wound is to forgive and reclaim your power.


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