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An epistle for my daughter

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Dear Fiona,

My pretty petite baby! You are five year old today. You have finally stepped into an age of pure innocence and sweet nothings. You will be making memories to cherish for years to come. You will be learning amazing new things. A whole new world is waiting for you!

At this moment, as I see you prancing around in your pastel polka dots frock oblivious of all earthly matters, my heart descends in fear. I look at your spotless baby limbs and creamy complexioned skin shining bright in the sunlight, my heart drops once again.You are a baby for me but how can I forget that for the rest of the world you are just a species born with organs to satisfy carnal needs. To be precise, mere sex toys! YES BABY, YOU ARE ONLY FIVE AND NO, YOU ARE NOT EXEMPTED BY SUCH MALEFACTORS!.

Here’s why I am writing to you to let you know how to keep yourself guarded and invulnerable. Physically, I may or may not be there for you for a long period of time. But Fiona, I want you to grow up as a daredevil. Fierce, independent and plucky!

Just like the two sides of a coin, the present world is both a safe as well as unsafe place to reside in. No one has witnessed the future. For how long will I keep you safe under my protective wings? My baby, you will someday need to fly away to reach your dreams and desires and in that very process, you may come across evil humanoid from hounds. Your Maa, who was your age then, succumbed to her naiveness. She couldn’t fight back. I didn’t understand then but now I know. I was robbed off my dignity! Till date, I am filled with remorse and guilt. God forbid anything bad to be inflicted upon you but I still need to prepare you for situations we don’t expect. As a daughter I didn’t have the nerve to confess to my parents because in those days no one would have believed the concept of child predators. I grew up with pain and unspeakable nightmares. However, now as a mother I vow to keep you away from all hurtful things. You will be a headstrong child that I couldn’t be.

Fiona, you are a female. Your body is a beautiful temple. A holy place, which grows with every passing day. Your body is endowed with the special capacity to bring life into this world. As time passes, you will witness visible changes in your body. Formation of your mammary glands and development of your reproductive organs will make you feel slightly uncomfortable but it’s all fine baby because a woman’s body is the most marvelous creation of the Almighty. You will hit puberty in no time and so will, start your ritual of bleeding every five days a month. When that happens do not fear my darling because that’s what makes us stronger and special. With all these evident growth occurring in your body, testosterone producing beings will lurk around. As I mentioned earlier, your body is a temple. Hence, it is your utmost duty to protect your temple from intruders. Don’t befriend a stranger, whatever may be the circumstances.

Tell me everything. Think  of me as your human journal. Any unwanted touch of your body that makes you cringe is wrong. Be it a relative, a friend or any other male who approaches you with the mindset of grazing your hands over your body is wrong. They can’t kiss you recklessly. They are forbidden from touching your chest and your private parts.If anything of that sort is ever to occur, please realize that something terrible is happening and you need to cry out for help. Don’t fear my child! They are just coward predators who feeds on a girl’s fear and helplessness. Fight back in every way possible. Now you know why I have enrolled you in self-defense training. Hence, from now on you can’t make a fuss of waking up early to attend those classes.

On your fifth birthday, I shouldn’t have gifted you such an adult epistle but given the conditions prevailing around us it is high time I teach you the importance of protecting your body from a very tender age. Once you are an adult and aware of all consequences you are free to choose a partner to engage in a love relationship. Anyone who tries to touch your body without your consent is considered molestation/rape/sexual assault. Once you said no, it’s all over. If it’s still not over, then you hit back. Hit back hard and prove that your body is solely yours. No one has the right to maltreat it. As you grow up I will tell you about brave-hearts like Nirbhaya, Bhanwari Devi, Dr. Sunitha Krishnan etc. Life turned upside down for them but their quest to fight back will always be exemplary.

Fiona, I wish you grow up to be a hale and hearty woman. Enjoy your carefree childhood but I also, want you to know about the kind of world that awaits you once you step out your safe and comfort zones. Some people will be cruel and some loving. Some ruthless and some forgiving. Some genuine and some fake. You need to exterminate the bad out of the good. Stay alert! Stay strong! Stay loved! Happy birthday baby!

                                                                                 With love- Maa

P.S- I don’t have a daughter. I am not married yet. Being an sexual abuse survivor myself, I fear having a daughter in future. I am under the constant belief that I won’t be able to protect my baby girl. But in the recent months, various insightful readings and professional help has strengthened my once broken mind. I have no control over my fate and maybe I will end up giving birth to a daughter someday. I can neither live with fear all my life nor clutch my baby girl to my chest forever to protect her from lustful prying eyes. What I can certainly do is to offer sex education to my daughter from an early age. Enroll her in self-defense classes. Make her a maverick. And most importantly, keep an account of her surrounding thus, building a delightful and open mother-daughter relationship. (FIONA is a long cherised dream name for my future daughter inspired from Princess Fiona of Shrek series. A down-to-earth, independent and specially talented princess).

I sincerely urge all the mothers out there to apply these in their parenthood as well. Sex education isn’t taboo at all! It is all about perceptions. Also, these precautionary measures doesn’t apply just to girls, even your little boys can fall prey to such monsters. So educate both the genders. Ignorance can also be the root of all tragedies. Hence, better be safe than sorry!

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