Child Abuse and Depression – A True Story

August 21, 2018 OTHER

Reuters photo



Rimli Bhattacharya



Trigger Alert: This article contains descriptions of violence that could be disturbing for some readers.



I have been counseling for a number of years and this is the first gruesome case of child sexual abuse I have handled alongside a notable psychiatrist. Yes, as a teen I too was sexually abused but survived as I did not allow my molester to proceed and had the complete support of my parents, but this is not the case in the following.



Meet Sara and her family


This is a true story of a little girl, Sara, who is now fifteen years old. Sara’s father works for the merchant navy and her mother was a working woman. She has a sibling five years younger to her. As her father’s posting was mostly in the ships Sara lived with her mother, sister and grandfather (father’s father). Her grandfather had got divorced at a very young age and Sara said he is 62 though he looked very young. The mother left her daughters under the full care of the grandfather and Sara was very fond of him. The grandfather pampered her with gifts and she loved receiving them from him. The trust on the grandfather was so much that he even bathed Sara nude, she not being able to smell the rat on the motive behind such a weird act. Sara said at times during bathing the grandpa intimately pressed parts of her body which left her bewildered as to why he was hurting her as she thought he loved her dearly.



The abuse


She was in standard four, stood first in class and was elated. She messaged everyone that she had excelled in her studies and her joy knew no bounds. The grandpa asked if she wanted anything as a gift and she stated a bicycle. The bicycle was immediately gifted to her but the grandpa wanted sex in return. The little girl did not understand the meaning of sex and when the grandpa unzipped himself she got curious and enquired about his privates. He referred to his privates as potato, ladies finger, etc. While Sara was desperate to play with her bicycle the grandpa was hell bent on having sex. He promised her that in the afternoon they will play with potato and ladies finger and later in the evening they will play with the bicycle. Ultimately he penetrated her and tore her hymen even before the little girl could have had her period. She bled and the bed sheet was covered with raw blood that oozed from her privates. She cried, she could not stand. To pacify her, the grandpa bought her chocolates, took her out with the new bicycle but she could barely stand on her feet. Grandpa washed the bed sheet, cleaned all the blood and asked her to keep her mouth shut. The next morning Sara had lot of pain. She couldn’t sit for breakfast but still she did not confide anything to her mother as she was unable to comprehend that the grandpa whom she adored could bring any harm to her. And to much shock the mother too did not feel the need to ask her why her daughter was unwell. Apparently she was desperate that the daughter finished her breakfast so that she could be packed off to school and that she could leave for her regular office. Sara’s ordeal had just begun and the poor child was completely unaware of it.


By that time the sexual urges of her grandpa had taken such an upper hand that he satiated them through this child. Sara was repeatedly raped for the next three years. She became weaker and the once bright girl turned dull with no interest in studies. By that time Sara’s self esteem had been completely crushed and she had turned into a victim of Stockholm syndrome.



The aftermath and parents’ reaction


Unable to bear the pain which occurred due to regular penetration Sara narrated this episode of her life to her classmate. The classmate who had witnessed her parents having sex told Sara that these are the acts done between parents and not between a grandpa and granddaughter. It was then in the 7th standard Sara opened up to her mother but by then she was no longer an effervescent little girl. She had lost her appetite, had sleep disorders, mood swings and failed to trust people. For hours she sat with her head down in the commode thinking she was the equivalent to that piece of shit. And the mother fearing the family’s reputation asked her to hush up the affair and packed the grandfather off to her sister in law’s (husband’s sister) house. It is worth mentioning also that the sister in law has two young girls and it is to say the very least a dangerous act to shelter a pedophile in such a house. To add to Sara’s agony the mother did not even take the little girl to a medical practitioner. By that time Sara had reached standard ten and the mother had enrolled her for coaching classes. The girl could not concentrate on her studies and this angered the mother to such an extent that she narrated the commode incident to the tutor. Sara was humiliated in front of the entire class and had no choice but to discontinue her studies at the coaching centre.


Seeing the detrimental condition in studies Sara’s mother recently unfolded this episode to her husband who too chose to stay silent about the incident, all the while both parents asking Sara to forget this awful episode. Is it that easy? I guess not and I was right. Sara also couldn’t get over this interlude of her life. The only clue the mother gave before we started our sessions was that Sara hated her grandfather and is a violent child with no interest in life and studies and that I should be treating her for this nature.



The counseling session, diagnosis and treatment


No, Sara did not open up in one session but had to undergo countless sessions and then went vocal about what happened. The aftermath of the abuse was severe. During our sessions Sara howled, banged her head, was unable to sit as she hallucinated and said she has pain in her privates. She even revealed the teeth marks on her breasts made by the grandfather and also said the penetrations were more from the rear end rather than the front. She has difficulty concentrating, sitting for long, is impatient, faces difficulty in passing urine and turns aggressive. She is fifteen now but hasn’t yet got her periods. She even confided that her parents didn’t share a healthy equation. Sara, who wants her grandfather to be jailed/punished, neither got support from her mother nor from her father. She blames her mother for giving her a broken childhood and not staying with her when she needed her the most. She loathes her parents.


Sara recoils in horror each time she sees a man and also says she will never get married as she will be spoiling someone else’s life, such was the impact of the sexual abuse she now considering herself impure. On seeing her condition I knew she needed to see a psychiatrist and I referred her to a notable Doctor. She has been diagnosed with acute depression and is due for counseling with me and also of her regular follows up with the psychiatrist but to date has not turned up. I tried to reach her on the cell number she provided but it seems she has given a fake number. I guess it’s that trust factor. The last time we met she said she has become close with a male cousin who takes her studies. I also asked if that cousin had behaved in an appropriate manner as I feared further abuse but she assured me the cousin is engaged to someone and is harmless. I sincerely wish that the cousin is indeed innocuous and Sara recovers soon though I know the recovery is painful and will take a long time.



Do we have a lesson?


I conclude this heart tugging narration with a humble appeal, please do not spare pedophiles. As a counselor I have seen children become victim of such abuse when there is no marital harmony at home. If you are stuck in an unhappy marriage please do not go for a child. You may be proceeding for sex to satisfy your urges but ultimately it is the child born of this wedlock who suffers in silence. So is Sara and I am sure there are many Saras out there in this cruel world. To be a parent is God’s gift and do not take it for granted.


Sara wanted her story to be told, she wanted her grandpa to be punished, and no one spoke for her. And here I write with a wish that people read of her and learn a lesson. Do read her story. Spread the word. Make the world a fair place to live.




The above is a true story. Identities have been changed.





Rimli Bhattacharya

Rimli Bhattacharya has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA in supply chain management. Her writing has appeared in several magazines, engineering journals, blogs, the Times of India, and in the anthology Book of Light. She is also a trained classical dancer to genres Kathak and Odissi and is based out of Mumbai, India. She tweets @rimli76.

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