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.
Trigger warning: Child sexual abuse
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” ― Audre Lorde
What if I hate misandry! What if I appreciate men as allies of feminist politics! What if once I hated men and boys in childhood due to my sexual abuse or trauma that resulted in personality disorder! A journey to overcome my attitude towards men highlights the role of feminism in my life to accept men who are fighting for women’s rights, childhood abuse, and gender equality.
How this personality and attitude developed? Why did my childhood trauma need masculine power for survival?
My soul was filled with the aura of my egoistic masculine power that survived in my body. It relinquished my mind and satisfied my impassive attitude. In adulthood, I realised that my masculine, tremendous flow failed to acknowledge my silence, give recognition to my voice, and prevented my childhood from abuse. I lost my potential childhood. But, yet, I refuse to accept the patriarchal cage over my rage. Realising this long journey of injustices was my failure to counter patriarchy with masculine traits. I failed to identify who I was and how my childhood abuse loses worth to acknowledge my voice.
I was a privileged girl child in my family but vulnerable to abuse with the male tutor who sexually touched, grabbed, and abused the innocent soul. My parents never tried to know the sudden changes in my behavior. My voice never echoed outside the walls of my house on the assumption of never being badly treated in a Muslim family. I tried to transgress the boundaries of my home and was beaten for the same. I tried to surpass the pain of my victimhood to hardiness.
The perpetuation of the cycle of trauma from months to years shows the vulnerability of childhood as a girl. It was such a horrific experience of my childhood. It affected not only my mental health and attitude but led to personality disorder. How is this change problematic? Yes, I was kind but turned violent, from oppressed to oppressor. The change was worse than ever I could even imagine. It’s hidden, but the implications were visible to others. Remembered the years when I hated the girls who have boyfriends or male friends because of the deep-seated perception of abuse and its relation with men. I connected the dots of misconceptions based on my childhood experiences to the bad touch. Change in the personality of children due to such trauma/ abuse is known as a personality disorder.
Childhood abuse develops significant neuronal morphogenesis changes, which led to helping in the development of personality disorders. It affects all genders, but females are more prone to it. I consider childhood abuse is violence against humanity. It is a human rights violation. It persistently demands public outrage as a social concern affecting millions of children worldwide.
Childhood memories of abuse and experience traumatised many individuals. Personality disorders can be in the forms of aggression, proactive, disorganized behaviors, and thoughts. Sometimes the child becomes fearful, shy, distrustful, and suppresses towards people. Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study is one of the largest studies of personality disorders that shows the role of childhood experiences in the development of personality disorders.
What are the Immediate And Long-Term Implications Of Childhood Trauma Or Abuse On Children?
The early victimisation of childhood is always an isolated event that remains invisible. There are introspective and cross-sectional impacts of abuse from childhood to adulthood. Ten types of personality disorders include the two most prominent are borderline and antisocial personality disorders in psychiatric settings. They engage in volatile relationships, impulsive, and tend to self-harm. Some of them easily break the rules, transgress societal values, and engage in criminal activities.
I used to consider it as systematic control of male authority over children. Data reveals that men commit serious crimes of abuse in comparison to women. It shows the engraved injustice on human souls. Most of the childhood experiences of trauma are considered ‘soul murder’ that channeled the fear into rage, the aggression of shame, anger, behavioral change, and personality disorder.
In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) conducted a national study to understand the nature of abuse. It shows that more than 53% of children reported sexual abuse, and 20% reported severe sexual abuse in childhood. Childhood memories of the trauma of abuse reminded me of my changing personality, attitude, and urge to become more like men- powerful, strong, emotionless, masculine, and oppressor in childhood.
If you are trying too hard to ask me the question of my silence of childhood highlights the phases of re-victimisation. It is one of the notable impacts of childhood trauma on children with bad experiences. Speaking after so many years is my tragedy and failure to become a societal embodiment of perfection, pure, and candid woman.
I remember Audre Lorde once said, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.“
We are taught and brought up by learning societal values and gender behaviors since childhood. These are the boundaries set for children to be abused, controlled, and muted. It is a thin invisible line that makes children vulnerable to childhood abuse and trauma. Sex education is a sin in the families, a prohibited subject even at the cost of child abuse; outside area of the constructed boundaries to prevent girls’ movement.
Over time, I realised how sports, yoga, meditation, introspection, and prayer helped me to overcome this personality disorder. Beating children by parents is not a solution but a problem to make them ready for future injustices. Today, my feminist outrage gives me the courage to speak aloud to make my voice heard in a patriarchal society where innocent bodies are being robbed, used, tortured, and beaten. I took the courage to speak against every injustice done in the name of women’s chastity and children’s transgression.
Maria Khanam is pursuing MA in Gender Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia. She is a graduate in English and has a certificate in translation proficiency in the English language. She is also an accomplished content writer with expertise in developing content for blogs. Her journey from self-exploration to feminist consciousness fills with vibrant colors of experiences. She is interested in gender issues, including Women and Islam, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Human Rights, Intersectionality, and Feminist Politics. Her vision is to develop consciousness among the youth of this generation.You can find her on Instagram and WordPress.