I'll Be There For You, My Love

Five years ago, I was suicidal. Life had no meaning anymore. I was on the verge of losing it all. My husband of 5 years was caught with drugs possession. But that was not the worst. I found out that he had violated my daughter. She was nine.

Mima was my only child. Her dad was my ex-husband. We got divorced when she was only 6 years old. Her father – my ex-husband – is nowhere to be found. It was a rough time for me. I hardly saw him. He worked as a bus driver, plying between the highways of Malaysia – and occasionally between Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Johor and Singapore. I had to raise Mima all by myself. Then, I found out that he had taken a second wife in Malaysia. I felt cheated and went for a divorce.

It was in those emotional periods that I met Rajoo, my second husband. He seemed like a nice and responsible person. That was before we got married. Little did I know that he is a drug addict. That explained his unpredictable behaviour. At one time, he would be in a daze, sitting quietly on the sofa or in the bedroom. Other times, he would be in a temper and smash the furniture and things in the house for no reason. Mima and I learnt not to interfere in his moments of rage. The good thing is, he did not lay his hands on me. But then, I found out that he had done something terrible. As a mother, I could not forgive him for that.

Mima came to me one day to complain that her private part was bleeding. I thought she had her first menses. I thought it was too early. But it’s not impossible. So, I did not pay much attention to it. My child probably attained her puberty. But as months went by, Mima would cry and complain about how her vagina hurts. I decided to take her to the doctor.

It was at the clinic that I got a shock. The doctor said he found bruises on her private part. The first thought that came to my head was, “Oh, maybe she felt itchy and was scratching it.” But the doctor said it did not seem that way. The doctor wrote a note and asked me to bring her to see a paediatrician as soon as possible.

I returned home that day feeling confused. I sat Mima down and asked her to tell me if there was anything that she wished to tell me. But Mima kept crying and hugging me tightly. It went on for the next few days. All along, I did not tell any of these to my husband. I suspected the worst, but I would keep that thought far in my head. I was not ready to confront the truth.

But the universe had probably conspired. The police came to the house not long after. I thought it was about my daughter. Did the doctor inform the police? But I was wrong. They showed me their warrant to search the house. My husband, they said, was nabbed that morning. He was caught in possession of ganja. I was not sure if it was for consumption or sale. I was too shocked to even ask the police. They searched the house and found a small stack of white powder underneath some piles of clothes. I was sure that it was not there when I folded the clothes last week. He must have put it there recently.

Nonetheless, I was asked to go to the police station. They wanted my statement. But Mima was acting strange. That was when she told me she didn’t want to see appa (father). She was afraid of him. He had touched her “there” (pointing to her private part). She said it in front of the police! “Ma’am, I think we need to take you and your daughter to the station,” the investigating officer said. That evening, my body could not take the shock. I felt feverish and weak in the limbs. My face was drained with fear. I grabbed Mima tightly, as though I was going to lose her.

The next three months were the lowest points of my life. Mima was sent for child counselling. I had to see a therapist and was on medications. I was even held for 2 nights in a mental hospital for treatment. At times, I would scream to myself that I’m a useless mother who let her child be violated by her stepfather. But I also told myself that I must fight on for the sake of Mima.

It has been 5 years since that episode. My husband – my ex-husband now – is languishing in jail. Serves him right, you monster! Mima and I moved on with our lives. But it will not be easy to recover from the trauma. Thankfully, I had the support of family counsellors and friends. If not for the help I received, I don’t know what would have happened. Maybe I would have taken my life along with Mima. But now, I am determined to carry on living and to make sure that Mima will grow up without the painful memory.

Mima, I’ll be there for you, my love.

Yours sincerely,

Lakshmi

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