Silenced Screams : Bonus Winner | Season 5

– Niharika

I was no one but a mere teenager,
Conscious while my chest started to grow,
Newly being told that it would now need support.


I was instructed not to change in front of anyone,
Told to let go of my favourite clothes,
No one was talking to the men around me,
What about their character report?


I was forced physically and mentally,
My defenses against the wall,
Too scared to process or even narrate the story,
Every day during the torture, I let my mind transport.


He silenced the throat he choked,
Left his fingerprints on not just my neck, but my soul,
My chest swell, credited to puberty and bruising,
Desperately waiting for someone to say, “Routine Abort”.


Crying at 4 became an automated body response,
Deafening were my screams that made no noise,
What had I done to attract this predator,
Maybe growing up as a girl was my fault.


Fingers probed different parts of my body,
Parts that I didn’t even know the name for,
My verandah walls knew all my finger trails,
People saw me getting dragged but chose to consort.


Abusers are seldom caught,
Mine was also held accountable for a short while,
The story needs to remain within the wall who witnessed,
He was left unpunished in my family court.


The incident, immediately forgotten by all,
While I was left to pick up my pieces,
A lot of me got lost along the way,
Tucked away somewhere in an inaccessible vault.


The assault stopped but the trauma roared,
I tried to scratch my skin off, removing his invisible imprints,
There was no monster under my bed when I slept,
I still woke up every night with a jolt.


His fingers did not go that deep,
But he still managed to claw up my insides,
Taking my own life looked like an easy option,
It started to look like the only resort.


He flew around while I remained caged,
Stuck in a loop of my own thoughts, nightmares and even worse, reality,
I despised him but hated myself more,
When did I agree to sell my childhood short?


I started crawling uphill step by step,
Trying to overlook that I will always be an incomplete puzzle,
I fell, I bled, I got wounded, it hurt,
I felt alone, had no one to rely on to be caught.


This is me, 10 years later,
Still shivering while speaking my truth,
It gets better, you move on, you find people you can trust;
It took me a long time but I am finally here.
A part-time happy, full-time anxious survivor of sexual assault

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