How my teacher abused me, and how I got out of the depression that followed
August 18, 2020 06:47 AM NPT
Republica decided to publish this anonymous opinion piece. We are doing this at the request of the author, a college student whose identity is known to us.
“Life as a girl is full of sacrifices. You should learn to tolerate whatever gets thrown your way.” These are the kinds of things her mother taught ever since she was a little girl. Innocent but playful, she was always full of life.
Mathematics was her favorite subject. She excelled in it. That was the one class she loved the most. All her teachers praised and encouraged her. A teacher is like God; that was what she had known all along. As a daughter of a teacher, she never questioned otherwise.
After experiencing eyesight issues, her father requested the school to allow her to sit in the front row, unlike other students who had to follow a rotation. She was super excited to start as a fifth grader, since they were about to get a new teacher for mathematics.
And, that new teacher showed what horror meant to that little girl.
From the very first month of his teaching, the teacher started acting strange, asking questions that a teacher normally doesn't. Be it asking a 10-year-old girl to ask her mother to get him a job at her office, or the way he asked her to pinpoint the location of her house, everything looked abnormal. He then started to lean in to her whenever she asked questions. He was touching her inappropriately, blowing air on her face as she did her classwork.
The poor little girl did not know what was happening. But she knew it made her extremely uncomfortable, and she did not like it. Since he was her teacher, she was unable to confront him.
This started to impact her grades. She feared asking him anything, and her love for maths went away. From being a topper who always scored the highest marks in mathematics, it was shocking to her family as well as the teachers in her school when she scored only 56 out of 100 in her first term tests. Everyone started asking how it was possible for someone who enjoyed mathematics so much to perform poorly despite having full attendance. But, how was she supposed to explain them anything when she didn’t even know that her teacher’s actions were in fact a crime and that is what made her feel so uneasy around him.
Since she was unable to talk to anyone about this because she simply did not know how to, the situation worsened. She started making excuses to skip school because she did not want to face the teacher. She started to lie, telling her parents she was sick just so they would let her stay home. She felt tortured because she felt helpless. When her second term exam results were published, her parents were devastated to find out she scored even lower than the first term. And this time, it did not only affect her grades in math, but all other subjects as well.
This was intolerable to her parents. After a lot of convincing, she was finally able to tell her parents that she did not like the teacher that made her extremely uncomfortable. She needed not say more; immediate actions were taken against the teacher and he was fired from the school. After that, she started studying and reached the top in no time.
Although the teacher was gone, her father insisted on her changing schools, and she couldn’t be happier. The new school was everything she had hoped for.
Years passed since the incident, and she had forgotten all about it. She was doing great. After about five years, when she was in tenth grade, a similar demon crossed her way.
On a Saturday afternoon, she was in school with her friends, rehearsing for an upcoming event. She only traveled from home to school and vice versa, so when all of her friends suggested going somewhere for lunch, she was a little hesitant. She eventually agreed to go. She was left with two friends, both boys, at the end. When they asked if she wanted to take a shortcut route to home, she immediately agreed, hoping to reach home as soon as she could.
She didn’t really mind when the boys asked if she’d like to stop by a park. She was a bit concerned. She gave in to the peer pressure and trusted her friends. She was even more concerned when they did not reach the park but instead the house of one of the guys she was with. She got in the house to drink some water when the friend’s sister, who was the only other person present in the house, forced her to get inside. To her shock, the friend and the sister, locked that girl with the other guy in a room and shouted they’d be leaving for a few minutes to get some soda. Her body started to tremble. She was shaken to the core and unable to utter a word. After what felt like an eternity, she banged the door and asked to be let out immediately, with tears running down her face and her body shaking out of fear. Finally, she was let out in a somewhat semi-conscious state and the sister dropped her home.
This incident traumatized her, and affected EVERY part of her life. She started showing signs of clinical depression. It did not help when her best friend judged her for playing the victim. That was the last straw for her. She decided that no one could be trusted and she needed to keep shut. She started to isolate herself from everyone and everything. Since the tenth grade final exam is considered the “iron gate”, everyone thought she was losing weight because of the stress and was studying alone in her room.
Merely a year had passed, her past came knocking on her door, when one morning on her way to class in her college, she saw the same mathematics teacher who gave her nightmares, standing in front of her classroom, waiting for her. This hit her on a whole new level. What were the odds that the very teacher who abused her was teaching in the same college? She kept wondering. Afraid, she told this to her parents, who had to use their friendship with the principal of the college to make a new rule for teachers to not allow them to go to buildings other than their faculty’s.
This sent her back to square one. Afraid and traumatized, but unlike the last times, she decided to trust someone with her side of the story. She started talking to a friend about everything that had happened in her life. She finally found the support she needed. She could finally talk about everything she had been through without breaking down or having a panic attack. All the pain and fear were easing on her shoulders. She started getting better. She was not afraid to make friends. She was not ashamed of being the victim. She started feeling better about herself. Most importantly, she started to love herself again.
Victim shaming is a major issue in Nepal. People should be made aware of the zero tolerance policy of Nepal Police on sexual harassment and realize that victim shaming is the most ridiculous thing ever.