An inspiring young woman, at sixteen years old, finds the courage to speak-out about a taboo subject in her community, In breaking her silence, she starts a growing movement in Bangladesh ...
"Break The Silence, Raise The Voice, Save the Childhood"
I do believe a full recovery is quite impossible.
I was six years old.
I wish to forget, but I still remember …
My whole body is cold
I get stuck
Close my eyes
I cannot say anything
I can't stop him
I feel pain
I wish to cry loudly
Can't make a sound
In an instant I’m unholy
Weeping day after day
I couldn't share what happened with anyone, not even my parents.
He was my cousin. My big boy cousin; so obedient, so faithful, so loving to my family.
My big boy cousin came to the home often. When I saw his face, I hid mine. He was my bad dream, the cause of depression that hovered over me like a storm cloud that would last a decade.
I was sixteen years old.
Midnight, on a winter’s night. Six girl cousins gathered in the corner of our grandfather’s house. We whispered secrets we’d never dare share.
One cousin, shared a scary story about a child rape that happened in her village - a seven year old girl had been raped by a thirty year-old man. Together in our sacred sister circle, we spat out rage in angry words towards the rapist.
I lifted my head, I drew courage and I told my sisters my secret. They stared in silence. I was scared in silence. Perhaps they didn’t believe me.
Suddenly, one of my sisters shared that she had stopped visiting Aunt's house because our big boy cousin had tried to molest her too.
Then the rest of my sister's revealed their own secret one by one. Five among us six girl cousins confided that we had been abused by our same big boy cousin.
We cried tears, sharing our suffering. Our depression. Our years lost in silence.
One of our sisters cried out. She was abused by him several times.
She didn't cry for her distressing past. She cried for us. Had she raised her voice, she thought, then the rest of her cousins could have been warned. She felt responsible, because she was the most senior and had faced abuse first.
We couldn't sleep that night.
I was nineteen years old.
I read the book 'Amar Meyebela' (means childhood) written by Bengali Author, Taslima Nasreen.
Taslima tells the story of being abused sexually by her uncle.
Like Taslima, I felt my childhood had been stolen. No one had taught me about sex and safety. No one. This had to change.
There are children to save.
Taslima’s courage inspired me to stand up and speak, to raise my voice. “Break The Silence, Raise The Voice, Save the Childhood,” I shouted in my heart.
Soon everyone will hear, I told myself.
I was twenty-two years old.
It wouldn’t be easy to raise awareness about 'sex education' in a society where the word 'SEX' itself is taboo, and child abuses remain untold.
I knew it would be difficult, but not impossible. I launched the volunteer organisation, The 6th Sense to provide sex education for the children of Bangladesh.
We host workshops providing sex education for children aged five to ten years. We teach children to differentiate between ‘good touch and bad touch’. We teach them about their private body parts and how to react when someone touches areas that aren’t not meant to be touched. We conduct surveys with the children and provide free counselling for traumatized kids.
So far, we have completed workshops in twelve Primary Schools. We've reached over one thousand children. Of these children, 40% have been abused.
Next month we begin our new workshop 'Safe Adolescence' for Secondary Schools. We will keep going with our work. I call on our government to make sex education compulsory.
I am a girl and I will not be silenced.
Three months after launching my 6th Sense organisation, I revealed my cousin’s dirty secret to my parents. They were shocked and sorry for me, but according to the norms of our society, they prevented me taking legal steps against him. They feared I would lose my dignity in the community. This is the real face of our society - to blame the girl.
“Break The Silence, Raise The Voice, Save The Childhood,” I continue to shout.
My dream will be fulfilled when every child in Bangladesh is aware of their bodies and how to protect themselves from predators. Every child deserves a secure childhood.
I won't give up. I am ready to sacrifice even my life for my movement.
Show your support for Naorin
and the children of Bangladesh … ...
We are searching for donations to help spread our workshop outside, Rajshahi. All our volunteers are students, and they struggle to bear even their own transportation costs.
We will be thankful for your kind donations.
Please click here to link with me on Facebook to find out how you can help.
OR go direct to our website where you can contribute to our cause.
Naorin is an undergraduate student of B.Sc Honours at Rajshahi University. She is the Founder & President of 'The 6thSense' - A nonprofit organization.
She is a feminist writer at online portal 'Women Chapter' & 'Nari' (means Women).
I cried reading your post. Your courage and bravery for sharing this is both inspiring and unbelievable in a good way. I am so happy that you’ve used your experience to raise awareness to women, especially young girls. More power to you!
More power to you and the women. Small actions can bring the change to break the shackles.
Such a sad but inspiring story! What a way to turn a tragedy into something positive. Thanks for sharing her story.
You are very brave. You instil courage in all of us and you inspire us. May God be with you in all your future endeavour.
Thanks for sharing and the insights. It takes courage to share the story and hopefully it will make us all grow and reflect on ourselves.
OMG I have to read this book. The subject is really important.
I think so Dear.
Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story.
God Bless you for your bravery. Take a stand and be that voice for the voiceless. Never give up the fight. Keep love up.
I almost cried reading this. You are so brave for speaking out, and for devoting your life now to helping young girls.
So inspiring to share your story. It’s so sad that it is something so many people go through and yet it seems as if you go through it alone. By breaking the silence, I am sure you have helped so many cope with their situations. Thank you for sharing!
You were so brave to break your silence and by doing so you gave others the courage as well. This is the only way we can stop the abuse. Maybe if they knew we would tell then they wouldn’t even try. One can hope.
It’s very easy to blame the girl. In fact in many cultures, most people do.
I think perpetrators have used this fact as a covering for a long time and that’s why they do what they do knowing fully well that there’s a possibility no one would believe.
Most times, they know that the victims won’t voice out their ordeals which make them thrive in such evil. But not anymore, we will not remain silent. We will not let this evil thrive. Our voices must be heard.
You are so right. The voices will be heard!
Perpetrators rely on our Silence.
Perpetrators rely on our Silence.All of us should break Silene.
Wow you are so brave to share this story and take a stand. I am so sorry that this happen to you and your family, words can never heal that pain, but I am glad that you were able to solace and share with cousins to start the healing process.