29 November, 2020

And Then I Spared None

Abused by a relative at six, Laxmi saw how patriarchy tried to crush her femininity. And she made it come back to crush them, ‘those straight men with wives and kids’.

Photograph by Getty Images
And Then I Spared None

Can a six-year-old understand abuse? Comprehend the viol­ence done to him? Can he ever really understand that he has been forced? What does it mean to be sexually abused at such a young age when you don’t even know what abuse means? A child does not have the vocabulary of victimisation handy and so he spends a large part of his life in denial of what happened to him, never completely understanding it. Not knowing where to start. You can’t speak about consent here; it is not the right word—what consent would a child have to give?

The first time I was sexually abused was in our hometown Gorakhpur, where I had gone with my family for a wedding. I was a six-year-old boy­—weak, ill and feminine in demeanour—and that made me vulnerable. He was my father’s elder brother’s son, 21 years old. A sickly child, whose parents were slogging to keep him alive and well day and night, was whom he penetrated. I fainted the first time. The pain was so int­ense I felt something had ripped apart inside me, something was broken that could...



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