Editor’s Note: This month, that is February 2021, FII and The Minor Project are looking for article submissions on the topic of Narrating Violence and Trauma from Childhood to highlight the ways we in our childhoods, experience various forms of brutality from our adults, mentors, peers and even their institutions that may lead to a sustained memory of difficult experiences and mental health issues. The Minor Project is a digital platform for public dialogue to promote discourse on ending violence, abuse and exploitation of children by Leher, a child rights organisation, whose focus is on building communities that care and act for the safety and protection of children. If you’d like to share your article, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her fight or flight instinct was hindered. She did not know whether to stay and fight for her mother or to run from the situation that shook the very core of her being. The painful screaming behind locked doors echoed through the house and her body went cold. Her heart was pumping and every part of her was telling her to run, but she was frozen. The phone was within her reach, but her voice was nowhere to be found. The aroma of Dal that used to bring her so much comfort, was tainted with the memory of screams, shattered glass bowls and unshed tears.
The violence and trauma that she had experienced from the abusive figure at home were repressed when she went to school. Her smiles were forced, and her interactions felt meaningless and empty. At the end of the day, she would have to go home with this looming sadness in her heart. She felt like an imposter, so much so that she was afraid that people would not believe her if she spoke up. She presented herself as a positive person but her heart was heavy from her physical and emotional scars. It was yearning for a better life for her and her mother. Some part of her knew that it was not going to last forever, but a bigger part of her was losing faith. Was this it?
Her body began to change and suffer. Puberty is already a difficult and confusing time for a woman. Adding the continuous stress of being exposed to, or inflicted with, violence and abuse were overwhelming. Her fear evolved into severe, undiagnosed, untreated anxiety and depression. Consequently, she started to gain weight and felt uncomfortable in her own body. The comments and opinions about her body started flooding in. How did this become a determining factor of her worth?
She wanted to run. She wanted to choose the flight and flee from the never-ending toxicity in her own home. The choice was not hers, she had to stay and fight.
She fought for her education, she fought for her mental and physical health and well-being, and she fought for the young woman who had no choice but to suffer and to wait for all the good moments that were yet to come. She purposefully chose an educational institution far away from home. It gave her the ability to be independent and to make her own decisions without the presence of her abusive figure. Although this phase of her life presented her with new challenges, she did not hesitate to reach out and make new, long-lasting connections. She became bold, brave, and ruthless in the best possible way.
Years later, with continuous therapy and the proper medications, she was still finding herself. It was and is, to this day, a journey of everlasting self-improvement. She could not control her abuser, but she is working to have control over her own life. Fight or flight? It is her choice now.
Featured Image Source: Feminism In India
Salonee Desai is a 24-year-old intersectional feminist, blogger, photographer and Engineer. She was raised in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and moved to Canada with her family. As a citizen of both India and Canada, she offers a different outlook on the struggles of women who are bound by the laws of South Asian patriarchy, while existing in a westernised society. You can find her on Instagram