- What was it about the flawesome series that got you interested in sharing your story with us ?
News is that none of us are flawless and it was my desire to share my common place story so that it would make a difference to atleast one person.
- Give us a bit of your background for starters.
Unexpectedly arrived as the seventh child after a gap of seven years and weighed 10 pounds. Not much has changed in the physical realm – even now I look really healthy. Grew up in a simple home where academics were high priority as well as exposure to multiple activities while community engagement was also a priority. I put my hand in various activities in school and did relatively well in most of them. School and college were well invested years.
- What event/incident turned your life around or was pivotal to you?
I have had many a challenge that I have faced all through the years of my life though one of them could be a fairness cream and whitening cream concept defeating piece. It was in my mid-thirties that I suddenly began a journey of an auto-immune condition called “vitiligo”- the loss of melanin and of course your skin tone takes on a new shade- undefined by color schemes of cosmetic companies. Though I turned white quite quickly – it was interesting as my husband’s little boy day dreams of marrying a fair girl came true as he got a fair wife after 7 years into mariage. Look and feel chemistry definitely did not decide our marriage as the proof of the pudding is that we have held on together through it all for many years thereafter.
- What were the challenges you faced because of your condition and how did you cope and overcome them?
People and their questions were an unresolvable lot. Their curiosity was way beyond our comprehension. They were more bothered about my condition – both in good and odd ways. Personally, I could not look into the mirror for a year. And that’s the year my husband as an adult began to smoke cigarettes. The not-so right treatment that I received bloated me further. Use of any make-up and the like was hard as colours did not display the same on my skin. My hair turned 90% grey and it was strange to see a new – not so likeable you.
That’s when I turned to my faith and got the strength and confidence I needed and believe me in 12 months time I had a break through where I could stand in front of the mirror and look at myself and say to myself that I am beautiful and wonderful.
- Have you struggled with feelings of inadequacy?
I believe it was a struggle of accepting my physical condition and not one of comparison. So I used to just lie low and quiet without doing anything frontline except at work.
- If we asked you what some of your wildest dreams are, what would you say?
I desire to collaborate in the area of academics and work as an influence. This has become a reality now. I am able to coach those who cannot afford it and that has really taken off. I make others grow tall on my shoulders as I can’t grow any shorter(did not grow tall from 8th grade). I love making others look their best at my cost. I love people and help them to walk in freedom and fullness of life here on earth.
- What has been the greatest achievement and joy of your life so far?
My faith has been my greatest strength. My relationship with God has carried me through the greatest struggles of my life and has given me great joy.
- What is your advice to our readers today?
Focus on another even when you are going through pain and believe me “People are important” will become your mantra.
[su_box title=”About the author” style=”soft” box_color=”#f3f3f3″ title_color=”#000000″ radius=”5″]Jaya is a trainer and motivational speaker.
She resides in Mumbai with her husband Abraham. [/su_box]
- Why is safety awareness against sexual abuse among children important?
Sadly, kids are the easiest and the softest targets. That they are innocent and naïve hardly matters. It’s the only reason why kids should know the boundaries that cannot be crossed. They also need to know how to not let anyone cross that boundary.
- Does our “Fearless project” resonate with you on some level? If yes, how?
Yes it most certainly does! In fact, I love that the Fearless Project is also about prevention as much as it’s about recovery. Our country needs to learn how to keep our children safe. We need to learn to create an impenetrable fence all around them. We need to raise our kids with love and not with fear, impalement or shame.
- How did you overcome the trauma of abuse? What aspects were most difficult to heal? What aspects made the healing process difficult?
It was a process.
I think overnight healing is only temporary healing and so, I’m rather glad my healing took time.One by one, the layers of hurt got peeled off and eventually, withered. I don’t think there’s a set formula to overcome the trauma of being victimized but over time I’ve gotten to understand that we all go through the same stages – feeling of uncleanness, self blame, living in denial and finally, confrontation. Let me break it down a bit more.
- Feeling of uncleanness – as kids, we understand that we’ve been violated even though we may not know the words to use to articulate our feelings. With this understanding comes the feeling on uncleanness.
- Self blame – thoughts like – “I invited trouble” or “it’s because I’m not pretty enough” or “it’s because I’m ugly” constantly resonate in the head. Add to it, our society conditions us to think that it’s always the girls’ fault.
- Denial – this is when we start thinking that ‘the act’ never happened and then we graduate to think that it happened but it wasn’t as big a deal as we’re making out to be.
Mind you, all this is still about ‘ME’. In the sense that up until now I haven’t even started thinking about how the perpetrator has been in the wrong! That’s the worst part about the ordeal. The perpetrator goes on to live his life normally and the victim gets stuck in time.
When I did start thinking about the person responsible for this, the part that hurt the most was the broken trust. To be able to trust another man was a task! It felt like no one deserves to be trusted, like no one’s trust worthy.
It took a lot of time, a lot of friends and a lot of love to overcome these doubts and questions.
- What is your advice to children who have faced abuse?
Don’t hide it from anyone. Don’t hide it from yourself either. Talk about it, shed tears, vent….basically, address it and give yourself the dignity of words.You don’t necessarily need to address it in a recurrent manner but address it in a way that helps you get over it without having to rue about it over and over again.Learn to let go. Learn to forgive. It’s a process that will be worth your while.
- How important is it for Student campuses to ensure both awareness, precautions and a safety mandate against child sexual abuse?
Apart from teaching our kids to excel in life we need to teach them to be safe as well!
Campuses are where our personalities form and develop and so, it should be an environment for growth! It shouldn’t be stifling or terrifying instead it should be encouraging and gratifying. If sexual predators wander around in our campuses, it’s the slow death of life!
- What word of advice would you have for parents and teachers in bringing awareness on child sexual abuse?
Relentlessly and consistently pursue the cause please. I know the results are far too few but you are impacting generations to come. Your work is not a drop in an ocean. It’s like yeast making its way through the toughest situations.Don’t for a moment be under the assumption that sexual abuse cannot take place in our home. It has and it will continue to, unless we remain vigilant.
- Teachers and Parents sometimes say that it may be harmful or unnecessary to give too much information about sex too early in life. What is your comment?
How much is too much? And honestly, we live in a day and age where the world is at our finger tips – quite literally! If we are not the source of information to our kids, someone else will be. Perhaps even someone who’s less trustworthy. Is that a gamble worth playing?
- What advice do you have for parents and teachers who are helping children overcome the trauma of abuse?
It’s not the end of the world and your kids need to know that. At the same time, they need to know that you understand what they’ve been through and it doesn’t change your relationship with them.They need to be surrounded by better men/women who are proof that there are good human beings in their world too.They need to be encouraged with words of appreciation and validation.They need to be taught to forgive. But they also need to see you confront the perpetrators.
- What is your message to the world on Child Sexual Abuse?
It exists and maybe right in our own backyards. Let’s not run away from the fact. But let’s face it with hope and love.
[su_box title=”About the author” style=”soft” box_color=”#f3f3f3″ title_color=”#000000″ radius=”5″]Cindrella Prakash is not only a survivor of child sexual abuse but an overcomer in every sense of the word. She currently lives in Mumbai with her husband Asher Joe. For more on her incredible journey follow the link: http://www.satyamevjayate.in/watch-the-episodes/child-sexual-abuse/survivors-speak.aspx.[/su_box]