Dear Ms. Anon Advice,
I’m at a very difficult stage of my life. I am writing to you only after ensuring that I’m not mistaken and also because I can’t take this to anyone else. Not yet anyway. I don’t know how anyone else will react to it.
I have a best friend since ages. We went to school together, went to different colleges but we’re still quite inseparable, and then went to the same university. We’re still studying.
Obviously, since childhood, hangouts and sleepovers at each other’s places have been very common for us, like a regular picnic.
The issue is that there is now no doubt left that my friend’s father is trying to feel me up and molest me. We are technically adults but I’ve always been taught to respect my elders. Maybe that is why he thinks it’s easy to intimidate me. Maybe it’s because he knows I’m in a difficult position to speak up.
I managed to take a few shadowy videos of his advances while he thought I was asleep and under the influence of whatever he added to our milk – he treats me like his daughter who he dotes on, in front of everyone he treats me with the same attention and ‘shafqat’ as others will report.
But I know the reality. Once I realised that his niceness of bringing both my friend and me a warm glass of milk or hot chocolate is nothing more than a ploy to make us sleep deeper and longer while he can do whatever he pleases to my unconscious body.
I managed to make a video of him adding stuff to one glass of milk out of two. Proof wise, I have enough. I even recorded him threatening me but that is a not very clear audio.
However, I don’t want to call him out on his bs and risk losing my friendship and repute, but if I stay as is, I’m being abused and I don’t know how to stop it otherwise.
Please help me, how do I put an end to this without losing my friend and reputation?
Abused and Confused.
Dear Abused and Confused,
There is never any excuse to put up with sexual (or any) abuse. The sooner you speak up the better.
While your concerns are understandable, please know that they are baseless. If a friend can choose a criminal over a victim, that’s her priority and you don’t have any business crying over the loss of such a friend.
She probably has her loyalties with her family, despite how much it might shock, disgust and hurt her, she can’t choose anyone over family. So just like everyone does their own thing, you do your thing NOW!
You need to show those videos or audios to your parents, or any elder who isn’t a fan of victim shaming; someone who would listen to you, trust you, and someone who your parents will then listen to. Take the first path or such an indirect path but report this asap! Justice delayed is justice denied, and silent victims are perpetrators of injustice.
You don’t want to be that person because on your death bed, your regret won’t be that you realized who needed to move on from your life and who you needed to let go and didn’t. Your biggest regrets will be the silences you never broke. Your biggest regret will be having been an accomplice to a criminal, an abuser, who didn’t get caught because you stayed silent and thus he went on to molest and abuse God knows how many others. Can you imagine this same person repeating this to your kids when you all grow up and still hang out together, just because you stayed silent? Can you imagine the rage for your children?
Good, I’m sure you can.
Now I’m also sure that you’re aware of how your parents’ anger and shock will not be because of you or at you, but because of what happened to their baby and they couldn’t save you. This pain, this shock, this anger will probably never die. But it’ll eat all of you up and more if you don’t stand up at the right time. The least you can do is to stand up for yourself. You send out in the world and future, ripples of what you do or avoid doing today.
If you stand up today, if you speak up today, at least you can show your face to your god on your last day and say you did all you could. You’ll have an answer to, “What did you do against your oppressor?” Allah has given each person equal rights, and no one is any less than the other.
Put aside your fears and do the right thing. Why would the reputation of a robbed person be at stake when it is the thief who should be shamed? Why would the reputation of a mutilated corpse be at stake when the murderer is the one who needs to be reprimanded? Why should you be afraid of anyone shaming you when you’re the one wronged?
And trust me, if you are blamed for someone else attacking you and taking advantage you by means of authority or fear, that is fate doing you a huge favour by highlighting all those who don’t deserve your time, patience, explanation, and a place in your life. People will always have something to say, no matter what you do or who you are. This is your life. Take control, own it, mould it, give others hell about it, confront them with confidence because they dare try to take advantage of it when they have no right over it.
Be the change you want to see. A journey begins with the first step. Clichéd as these words may sound, they have a whole life behind and ahead of them. How you allow others to treat you, how you stand up for yourself or anyone suffering at the hands of someone else, will dictate the quality of your own life and your future. If you want your next twenty years to be good there are things you need to do today to set the foundation.
Please ignore every thought of what will happen and what will be said and by whom, and just focus on one single action: expose the freak. You don’t know how anyone will react to your exposing him, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you shouldn’t care. You’re not asking for help, you’re calling out someone for their sins. And anyone else who finds that odd needs some serious self-evaluation, not evaluate and shame this victim. They’ll probably be acting out of their own fear and inability to call a spade a spade, so don’t let their fears bog you down. You are your own strong person.
Sending lots of love and strength your way. Go grab the bull by the horns. Set an example for your siblings, neighbours, class fellows, other victims, your future children. Stand up for yourself. Now!
All the best.
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