//SCARRED, BUT NOT SCARED

SCARRED, BUT NOT SCARED

By |2020-02-19T10:20:13+00:00February 19th, 2020|Inspiring Story|

*inspired from multiple real life incidents

Nothing can beat the joy of reaching home, navigating through the chaotic traffic after a hard and hectic day. As I sank into the sofa, cradling a tray of self-made sandwiches and a mug of coffee, my eyes chanced upon a mirror. Looking into it, a million memories darted across my mind, taking me to the time when even a stray glance at a mirror would torment me forever…

*******

10 years ago:

One among the multitudes that land in the city everyday with hopes of a better life, I began the onerous task of house-hunting. Some landlords had a problem with m surname and many had problems with my very existence- a single, working woman in her early twenties seeking accommodation. Finally, I managed to zero in on a flat, not far away from my office, with nominal rent and decent amenities.

As time flew by, I found myself less intimidated by the city and its people and enjoyed my work. Life seemed bearable, after all. A year later, when I was returning home, I saw a man leaning on the sidewalk. When I passed by he grinned lecherously and began singing vulgar songs. I dismissed it as a random occurrence and walked away as fast as I could.

This happened every single day and as months went on, he had progressed to following me home

The officers at the police station refused to file a complaint against him.” He is only following you, as of now. Don’t you think it’s too premature to lodge a complaint? Let us wit and watch what his next move is and meanwhile, take care of yourself.” My neighbours weren’t helpful either- one of them told me to feel proud of being stalked, as it seemed to indicate my feminity and ‘desirability’quotient.

*******

In no time, declarations of undying love had morphed into threats- too graphic and gory to be penned down. I vividly remember walking down the road with my mom( who had come for a visit). He saw us and walked past us just like another pedestrian while in no time, I was blinded and felt my face melting away by something hot and stinging. My throat felt scalded and as I blacked out, the only thing I remembered was  the pungent smell of burning flesh-my own; and my mom’s cries for help.

*********

The moment I was handed a mirror after my reconstruction surgery( I had sustained second degree burns caused due to acid attack), I slammed it against the wall, clutched a broken piece and tried to slit my throat. I was ordered by the doctors to be placed on a suicide watch.

*********

After being subjected to multiple counseling sessions and remaining shut up all day in my flat, refusing to step out of my house, it suddenly dawned upon me : while the man who did this to me was free to roam about, why should I, for no fault of my own, imprison myself?

*********

Slowly, I began rebuilding whatever was left out of my life. I gradually got accustomed to people avoiding me on principle- on trains, shops, beaches. Everywhere I went, I was given a wide berth- perhaps more out of revulsion than pity. Partially blind and permanently disfigured, I was rejected during many interviews but I still kept applying, desperately trying to hold on to my passion for coding, the only thing standing between me and suicide. Finally, I was hired by a company and delved deep into work, doing more freelance projects to keep me occupied, with no time for suicidal thoughts.

*******

Fast forward to the present.

I’m overjoyed to tell you that the police department has invited me to collaborate with them to develop and launch an app, for the safety of women in our state.

Victims of harassment and assault don’t want your pity, we only want justice. To end on a cheesier note, I may be scarred, but I’m not scared.

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