By Shilpa Menon – (Guest Blogger)
RAPE– is a 4 letter word, one of the greatest crime against women. Though our social outlook appears to have become modern, rape victims continue to be subjected to situations causing them to re-encounter events from the past. Reliving the memories of a trauma from the past, triggers an emotional upheaval to manifest in the present and future.
16th December 2012 – a dark day in the History of India. Nirbhaya was gang raped and tortured in Delhi in a bus by six men.An event so barbaric that its hook India and the world. Widespread protests and massive public outrage compelled the Government to act. On 3rd February 2013 the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated.The legal reforms and steps taken to protect women are ongoing and hopefully heading in the right direction.
But the BIG question remains! How many Nirbhayas will it take for the conscience of this Nation to wake up? How many more Nirbhayas will be subjected to assaults? How many Nirbhayas prefer to end their pitiable lives than suffering social stigma? How many Nirbhayas are forced to suppress their sufferings?
With the aim of making a difference,I began interacting with support groups comprising of sexual assault victims. The array of issues they deal with is huge, unfathomableand explains why they find it very difficult to move on.But one thing is for sure – by better understanding what the victims go through, we may become better support systems and assist in their healing constructively.My novel, Scars Do Heal, is dedicated to all the victims of sexual assaults. I used the power of words to raise awareness on impact of assaults on a victim’s life and to send a message of hope and healing.
SCAR– another 4 letters word, which may be inflicted emotionally so deep and affect the overall quality of life.Rape Trauma Syndrome disrupts the normal physical, emotional, cognitive and personal behaviour of victims.Just after the assault, survivors may experience a range of emotional reactions (shock, dismay, and disbelief).Triggers, flashbacks and nightmares may lead to crying, shaking, tenseness, restlessness, anger and hostility.Acute physical (soreness and bruises) symptoms, headaches,loss of appetite, or disturbed sleepare common.Informing peers, physical examination, fear of pregnancy and STD’s, retaliation by assailant, decision about pressing charges, and concerns about publicity have to be dealt with. With time, survivors may engage in normal activities and seem to move on, but there may still be a high level of repression of feelings. They may make some practical decisions around the place where they live, the people they consider friends, their work associates, and activities they choose to continue or discontinue.And so, the impact of their assault goes on.
Hope&Heal–These two 4 lettered words hold the power to make things better and offers profound strength. Hope is found at the vanishing point of the horizon. That the journey of life does not end just because of a horrific event. That love is a powerful healer. That the journey of self-discovery can bring about in the life a rape victim, a healing transformation, a transcendence that emboldens the victim into a victor. Accepting help, embracing positivity, welcoming love, relying on support, making conscious choices and the right attitude towards life may awaken that subtle healing within the survivor who can then lead life with a stead fast purpose.
About the Author
Shilpa Menon is from an idyllic island nation called Mauritius where she spent her initial days. She is a qualified Chemical Engineer with a Masters Degree from the University of Cape Town. She lived in South Africa for around a decade, while doing her Bachelors and Masters in Engineering. She then worked in the petroleum industry for a few years and subsequently turnedinto a serial entrepreneur. She is the founder of the luxury lifestyle brand – ‘Jolie’. Besides being a doting, full-time mother, she continues to find the time to manage her export house that deals ina wide array of niche lifestyle products friendly to the environment, a whole host of educational aids/tools and a range of toys for children. Her other interests include baking, painting, photography, travelling and reading. Her quest for the eclectic and that un-quenched desire towalk down a road less travelled took her on a journey, at finding her passion in writing. Scars Do Heal is the first work she has published.
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