I write this today not because I need to voice or vent. I have processed this memory long back and moved on. But I write this for you. So you may know someone else has been through your experience. So you may know you are not alone.
It started with a general weakness and a dull ache near my liver area. My mom’s doctor and our neighbour was slowly becoming as a respected doctor in South Kolkata. I had known him since he married and brought home his new wife, a homeopath doctor herself. I had known when his kids were born, when they were brought home and had watched them grow up.
We had called him several times to our home when my mother would have a severe asthmatic attack. He was known in our home as a “saviour.”
So I went to him.
I laid on the examination bed of his clinic. Alone. He examined me and said my liver felt tender or something like that. And that I did seem weak. And he slowly began examine me all over.
Under my dress onto my breasts. He said it was inadequate. And as I flinched, he said “I am your brother. Don’t you realize? You will not make a good marriage unless you are well-developed.” I laid there confused as he made his way down and fingered. I flinched and gasped and he said: “Your secretions are inadequate. You have protein deficiency. Get more protein in and come for re-examination in a month.”
Besides some liver tonic, he prescribed Proteinex (a kind of protein enriched drink).
I walked around the Dhakuria lakes for long wondering what to make of it. Maybe I had protein deficiency. After all wasn’t he a doctor, my neighbour, our family friend and mom’s saviour. Yet why did I feel so dirty and ashamed? And strange…
A month later I went for my check up. I cannot understand why I did that. But I did. The same examination was repeated. This time I felt extremely awkward and cut the examination short. But I did not know how to name what he was doing. I did not know the word called “sexual assault.” I only knew I was deeply disturbed by it. And violated.
Days later I tried to talk to my mom. I was too awkward to spell out the whole details and spoke in metaphoric roundabout manner. She could not imagine the whole scenario either and dismissed the whole incident as “sometimes middle-aged men take a liking for young girls. Don’t bother. He is my saviour. Without him I have no help for my asthma attacks.”
I kept quiet but maintained my distance.
Few months later my dad had a severe case of food poisoning. His blood pressure was falling rapidly and he had to be rushed to a hospital. Our family saviour was called. Somewhere after midnight I carried my dad in our saviour’s car to a private hospital he was attached with. Mom, by that time, was panic paralysed to do anything besides cry. She stayed home.
After hooking dad up to IV drip and ensuring his blood pressure was returning to a stable point, I had to return home. 3 a.m. In his car. 3 kms of nightmare. He sweet-talked, asked me not to worry and “caressed.”
And all the while I told myself, I can’t scream. I cannot run away. This man is saving my dad’s life. When I returned home I felt dirty and broken. Lost.
Mom sat crying as usual.
I ask myself what would I have done differently. I would have told dad instead of mom about what happened. You see we underestimate our dad’s abilities to respond to such situations. And I would have insisted mom to come with me to hospital. Or better still, in modern times called 108 for an ambulance. And I would have insisted another person to stand in during medical examination. I would have cared for my safety as I did for others.
And most importantly, I would have never trusted someone just because he was someone known.
You don’t do it either.
[Due to privacy reasons the author has chosen a fictitious name]