Courage – Tanbina Siddiqui

Courage - Tanbina SiddiquiThe sky is cloudy again, everything is so dark and grey. It’s just two in the afternoon yet it feels like a dark cold night. I knew the electricity would go off so I managed some candles and a match stick beforehand. I lit the candle and went to check on all the windows to prevent the rain entering the house. It’s boring staying all alone in the house especially in dark. Nothing can be seen; nothing can be done other than waiting patiently for the electricity to come.
As I was reading an article on the history of indo-pop music attentively I got scared by the door knock. For a minute I was blanked out until another knock brought me to my senses. I ran towards the door hoping to see my mother and to hear about my sick aunt she went to. I opened the door with got surprised by a deep voice of a young man, around 6 feet tall and well built. Due to the darkness his face wasn’t very clear to me until he called my name. I immediately recognized him; it was my cousin from my mother’s side. He got stuck in rain and lost all his belongings in the so called “city flood”. So, he decided to meet my mom to borrow some money for his return to home.
I didn’t know him much other than the fact that he is one of my cousins. I was scared to allow him in but he looked helpless and was shivering in cold wet clothes. I felt pity on him so I allowed him to stay in the house until the rain stops. I gave him dry clothes and made him a hot cup of tea and let him in the drawing room with a small candle. I didn’t know him much so I avoided talking to him but he was very friendly and formal. At that point all I wanted to do was to finish reading my article to know about the history of indo-pop music.
It was raining hard outside washing out every single piece of dirt with it and keeping nothing dry. It seemed the rain will never stop and the electricity will never return. Suddenly I remembered that I have a guest in the house, so I went secretly to check upon him. He was trying to read a book on western culture but it was difficult as the candle was about to cut off. I ran back to my room and lit him a new candle. And as per formality I asked him if he wanted something and he surprised me with a cup of tea. As there was nothing else to do, we both started talking about random stuffs.
We talked and talked until the last candle blown out too. At that point we definitely became good friends, we both liked music, books, poems etc. As I went to light the candle again, he pulled my hand close to him. The feeling was the strangest and uncomfortable feeling ever. In the darkness I couldn’t see him but I could feel every breath of him. He was uncomfortably too close to me. I tried to move myself free but his strong arms didn’t let me move an inch. Suddenly I felt sleepy and I passed out.
When I woke up, I saw I was lying in my bed. For some reason I was in very tired, my entire body was paining. Still I lifted myself up with all the force of my body towards the washroom. The view I was of myself was the most terrifying view I have ever seen and the worst feeling I ever felt. I realized what happened to me, I realized I was abused by my cousin. At that moment I didn’t know what to do or what to even think. I was completely blank with thousand emotions in my head and pain running like electricity in my nerves. I didn’t know what to do, I felt disgusted and dirty. I felt like a garbage bin. It took me some time to get a hold of myself and go up to my mom to let her the truth.
As I walked to my mom, she was talking to my father over phone. She looked tensed as if she knew everything, as if she is scared of something unknown. I gathered all my emotions and courage and opened up to her. All the blood in my body sank to the feet when she told me to shut up and keep this a secret. She warned that an abused rape victim is hated and unaccepted in the society. She said our family reputation will be in trouble if everyone gets to know this. I couldn’t believe my ears. Her words hurt me more than my pain. But I knew that I wanted justice so I called my friend who was in police and was also a social activist. I told her everything and she helped me to find justice.
It took almost 2 years for me to find justice and see the culprit behind bars. In these 2 years everyone changed when they knew my truth. I had to hear a lot of bad comments; at some point I didn’t even want to live but I gained courage. I knew it wasn’t my fault. I knew I am still the same as I was before. I knew I had to step up not only for me but also for every girl who are victims like me.

[Rape being the most brutal form of social deviance, is worsening the lives of women day by day. Every minute a girl or women is being raped. According to the studies, rape rates have increased a lot in recent days. Most rape victims are female kids who face domestic violence. It’s a huge disease in our society that needs to be improved by building proper children with a clear mentality. And Punishing the culprits so that others will be scared to do the same too.]

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