- Feminist Peace Collective
My sister’s husband
I no longer know how many years have passed (probably 8 years) since my sister's husband was sexually harassing me. It started with comments carrying sexual undertones about my appearance. He then moved on to talk about sex when I was 20-21 years old and I had zero experience in this regard. He was telling me how important sexual life is and so on. This was followed by a hand touch, as if unintentionally on the chest, on the backside etc. (for example, if we were in a car and too many of us were sitting in the car, he would touch my chest. I turned around, I could not guess what was happening. When other thoughts would run through my mind, I thought it was accidental. I blamed myself again).
When my sister gave birth to her first child I stayed with them at night, helping my sister to take care of the child. And that was when the main problem started - he was watching me when my sister was asleep and I was with the baby. He was standing in front of a door, slightly ajar, looking at me from the darkened room. I thought I was going crazy and I just locked the doors, convincing myself that he was just looking at the baby. In short, even now, I am writing as if I am justifying myself. In fact, I'm not.
I just want to explain how such people manage to make harassment not look like harassment and make you live in this condition for years. I did not share this story with anyone then because I thought I was crazy. I had no knowledge, but I would still find it hard to name one for all this. The only thing I could manage was to get away from my sister, I would not go home with them anymore. I would take the baby with me to the park and I would take her back home and that was all. If my mother would come and stay there, I would go with her but then I would take a taxi back home, but I would not stay there overnight.
This story broke out about 4 years ago. A totally different incident had taken place and I had to tell all this to my pregnant sister because others were telling me whether or not I would tell her. I thought if I told her about it, I would protect her. She did not speak to me for a year and then she left her husband with two small children.
Why am I telling this story? He now lives close to where I have moved to. At first, it seemed like the biggest disadvantage of buying this apartment, but I had no other choice as I found this apartment cheap and could not miss out on it - I could not afford other options. I chose to ignore this and got down to business. Now that I have settled in this apartment and put up with the neighbourhood, I am afraid of leaving and coming back home. I think I will come across him somewhere and I often liken him to strangers on the street.
I haven't met him yet, but when I enter any establishment, I just look around to make sure that he is not around. There is a gym here and I could not visit it because I am afraid I will meet him there. Once in the store, it seemed to me that he was there. A friend of mine told me that I was blushing in the face. I only remember that my heart was beating profusely.
Lately, I have been dreaming about it too. Yesterday's dream was the limit I had reached which made me decide to write here. It was as if I saw him and chased him to suffocate him or something. I woke up with a sigh, I was so nervous.
I cannot move from this apartment and go anywhere. He lives on a street parallel to this street, not so close, but I do not know what to do with this fear and anxiety. I was talking with a psychotherapist on this topic, but it seems that I ran out of things to say in one visit, but I realize that it has done me a lot of harm, and it will take me years to get rid of it.
In addition to this, the fact that when this story broke out and I told it to my friends and relatives, everyone somehow sewed up their mouths. They probably wanted to protect me. But I guess sharing this story also hurt me separately. I needed to talk about it a lot, but I could not, but now I can forgive in different ways and I am afraid. The main purpose of writing here is probably to just talk about it.