It breaks my heart to scroll down my newsfeed to discover another young woman deciding to take her own life because of the rigid mindset of the South Asian community. Last week, Samiha Khan could not bear the burden of living with the pain and chose not to live. Now I don't know her personally, but I can relate to her on so many different levels, and I know that many other girls within my community feel the same.
At a younger age, a fellow classmate continuously assaulted me, but one day I couldn't take it and I told a teacher. To my discovery, it wasn't only happening to me but to other girls in my class too. I can't help but remember the shamed looks my parents gave to me that day. Everyone who's received it knows that victim blaming hurts the most when it comes from the people you love the most. Doing the right thing never felt so wrong when I felt the utter disgust on both my parents face when they looked at me. And of course, I know it wasn't their fault, not directly. I mean, it was what they were taught. How could I blame them? In the end, I ended up blaming myself.
Now, the school I went to at the time was a private one, and they didn't handle the situation very well. In fact, they kept the aggressor in the school. Every day for the rest of the year, I had to look at him and be reminded, all the other girls and myself did. All that was offered to us in the form of help was one group therapy session in which no one felt comfortable talking. Later that year, one of us girls had to be hospitalized because of a suicide attempt, because once again talking about it was thrown out of the picture. Everyone had their defense mechanism, I sought out safety in another guy because I felt that I was no longer kept safe by the administration themselves. I was penalized for that by the administration later on because they just didn't understand.
No one wants to talk about it, heck I don't even want to talk about it, but it still hits me so hard even now. Because sometimes I feel like my boyfriend should have a trigger warning. When he forgets to shave and he puts his hand on mine, my mind goes back to a different place and time. I don't want to associate my love with the pain and hurt of my past, but it's hard when staying silent is what our society tells us is best.
I honestly believe the human body is capable of miraculous healing. Life will fight to the end. Give a starving person just a little bit of food and immediately they begin to feel alive again. This is true for mental healing. Given the resources, the healing process can finally be able to begin, but with silence, it can never start. With silence, we allow our girls to carry the burden alone. With silence, there will be more girls like Samiha, may she rest in peace now. With silence, the cycle continues to go on, so please I urge you all to talk about this, to share your own stories because it will help even one person to feel less alone.