‘Stories of abuse need to be shared to create awareness’

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illustration: Mayanglambam dinesh
Illustration: Mayanglambam dinesh

I still remember the day when my sister introduced her best friend’s younger sister as ‘Little Angel’ to me. Her sparkling eyes caught my attention soon, and from that day on, for a year, she became the companion of the 5-year-old girl that I was then. She was a chubby baby, who possessed a magical power to own the hearts of all those who looked at her adorable face.

The next time when I met her, she was six. She had grown into a skinny girl, a chirpy little girl who could be easily persuaded, for she could do anything out of her innocent love for all those who would play with her. Her face was very radiant and transparent.

And the final time I met her, she was 15. She had transformed completely into an introvert, who was living in her own isolated world, cut off from friends and family. Her shining pair of eyes had lost their glow and were sunken.

I tried to strike a conversation, but she avoided it on the pretext of lack of time, as she was preparing for her Class X exams. I wondered at the transformation that this girl had underwent. I suspended my thoughts, thinking that it must be the examination pressure, but still I was not convinced.

A few days after I met her, I heard that she had committed suicide. We were totally shocked. We could not understand what prompted this girl to take such an extreme step. As the police inquiry failed to find any leads, they had to forcibly close the case. Years passed, but this particular incident still lingered in my mind like an unresolved mystery.

Recently, I met Little Angel’s older sister. She invited me home and I accepted the invitation. It was a fine Sunday morning, and as soon as I entered their home, I saw a long garlanded portrait of my Little Angel, which brought tears to my eyes. My face had this question fixed on it as to why my Little Angel had committed suicide.

Maybe Little Angel’s sister could read the glimpses of pain in my eyes. She handed over a diary to me. A diary? I wondered. Slowly I opened it. Yes, it was hers.

As I leafed through its pages, I found that the entries written towards the end of her life were very disturbing; in fact, intimidating. Some notes created an impression that somewhere down the line, she felt like a sinner and others made me feel that she was victimised.

Once I finished reading it, I stared at Little Angel’s sister. Later, somewhere in the middle of our conversation, she mentioned that Little Angel was victimised. She was sexually abused by one of the most trusted family friends when she was a child and she didn’t know how to convey her pain or cope with the situation, which ultimately forced her to put an end to her life.

Though I earnestly wished to make the world aware of the heinous crime that snatched my Little Angel’s right to life, till date I had refrained from sharing the mystery behind her death with anyone. I really don’t understand what stopped me. Maybe I didn’t wish to tarnish the image of innocence. Now I realise that I was trying to safeguard the picture of something that was long lost.

In fact, now I understand that such stories need to be shared, to create awareness. As a messenger of my Little Angel, as the voice of all the faceless Little Angels, I see it as my duty to do my best to prevent such a mishap from happening again. And with this noble mission, I have decided to spread the word of caution.

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