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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vindicated.

It was not easy to write this. I hesitated because it's a very personal, delicate post we're talking about here. But I felt that maybe someone might find it helpful. If so, then it will have been worth publishing. Worth publishing the blog about the time I felt like a victim.



Some time in May, I was having small talk with someone. Partly through the conversation, I noticed my interlocutor's eyes fixed several inches below my chin. I felt uncomfortable. Disrespected. Violated. That conversation haunted me for the next months to come.

As soon as I got away from him, I broke down and cried. I was angry, disgusted and I hated him. For the weeks and months to follow, I avoided him. Every time someone mentioned his name, I gritted my teeth and tried to breathe. I was allergic to his very existence. Every time I talked about it I couldn't hold back tears. I was frustrated. No one saw, so no one did anything about it. I wanted someone to do something about it, I wanted justice. This wasn't fair. Perverted minds should not be left to ruin the lives of people around them.

We're now in October and just last week, as I talked about it to a friend, I cried again. I decided that this frustration was eating me up for way too long, I had to put an end to it. I realized that, if I wanted someone to do something about it, that someone could be me. So I messaged the perpetrator and arranged for a meeting. I wanted to talk to him about what happened, let him know how it feels, and maybe have his version of facts.

I went in the coffee shop with hate. I calmed myself down and tried to get to know him for a bit. He was only an acquaintance and I wasn't sure what reaction to expect from him. I felt that a bit of conversation might make it easier for both of us. I quickly understood that this guy had serious problems with any sort of interpersonal skill, even more so when conversing with the opposite sex. According to his version of facts, he doesn't even remember the conversation and was not staring at my chest, but staring blankly as we do when we're thinking.

I told him my version, every part of it. What he did that day, how it made me feel, the tears, the frustration, the hate, everything. Going in, I wasn't sure whether his act was intentional or not. If it was, I wanted him to hear first hand how it felt to be on the other side of the situation. I wanted to vindicate myself. I was hoping that my account of things would at least encourage him to rethink over his way of treating girls. Maybe it would avoid another girl from going through the same thing in the future.

I was right. Our conversation ended on a positive note. He is now looking to improve his interpersonal skills and I'm sure he will succeed. I wish him the best in his efforts to do so. Mohandas Gandhi said that "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". Many people want to change the world. Few actually do anything about it. Even fewer are willing to change themselves. And for this, I'm very glad that this person has acknowledged the need for him to change.

I was also right thinking that confronting him with it would help me get over it. In one conversation, I've let go of the hatred, the frustration and the feeling of being a victim. I walked out of the coffee shop feeling free, relieved and exhausted.

He hadn't even touched me. Yet, you can see how devastating the effects already were. I can't even imagine how much worse I would have felt if he had done more than just stare. If you've ever felt victimized (or know someone who has) and are not over it, I sincerely wish you to find the strength to do something about it.

I was told that it was a brave thing to do. But most importantly, it helped me put this chapter behind me. And I just hoped it might help someone else do so too, whatever it is that they're struggling with. So if you know anyone who could benefit from this, please feel free to pass along.


Sherry-Lynn

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