'Protect the girl child.'
'Take seriously what she tells you.'
Dr Sudha Satish felt helpless when she was abused as a child. It affected her morale when nobody believed her.
Share your advice and the details of uncomfortable situations you might have found yourself in. Talking about it helps us all.
The first time I was abused I was six.
I was playing with other children in north Madras on Coral Merchant street.
Yeah, that is my city. A beautiful, traditional city. But my bad experiences began there.
There was a very old, big temple in our neighbourhood.
Like other children, I was fond of playing hide and seek there.
When we were playing, suddenly I was called by the priest thatha (grandfatther).
He asked me to come and sit next to him and pray to Lord Krishna. He said it was more important to learn to pray than play in my free time.
He then asked me to sit on his lap.
The innocent child in me never suspected anything wrong.
Suddenly he put his fingers in my panties. His fingers started playing with my body. I never realised what was happening. I sat there without power and resistance.
I was called by one of my playmates. That was the right time to run from that man.
But this experience drove me mad. I tried to tell my mother several times. Talking about it was considered very bad. So I kept my mouth shut.
Another time, in the same temple, when I was running around the temple, a man called out to me to come and sit next to him.
Thank god, I found the courage to run away from that man.
My third experience was with my old tailor. I was 11.
It was a rule in our school that girls with early good growth must wear half saris. So I had to wear one. I was taken to a ladies tailor in our locality.
As he measured me he kept on pressing my small breast buds so many times. I was not aware it was done intentionally.
After I came out and told my aunt, who was also with me, she just told me he is an old man.
Why should he do something like that with a young child like you? I never discussed this with anyone later.
I have had one more experience with a very close, blood relative. He tried to play with my breasts when I was 15.
This incident also I swallowed. I thought nobody would believe me. I was made to believe that I was over-sensitive.
I don't know why girls are allowed to suffer like this at the hands of sex-hungry men.
I was not able to speak out then because of social taboos. Now I feel our society is little bit more mature.
I am 46 now. But I still cannot forget those bad experiences.
My advice to readers is to protect your girl child.
Take seriously what she tells you when someone touches her. Don't tell them that it is was accidental.
Differentiating between a good touch and a bad one is important.
Do you have a similar story to share?
How did you deal with abuse?
Do share your advice with other readers.
Let's try and make India safe for all of us.
Lead image only published for representational purposes.