‘I can never forget that one vicious night; when I lost my dignity, self-respect, and myself’ said Lolita to a mass crowd. She stood bold in front of hundreds of people and took a pause. It appeared as if she froze in that moment and went into her past. However, she gathered all the courage and started speaking to her audience.
‘After I got physically and emotionally assaulted by that demon, I broke down. When I came back to my senses and the reality meter kicked in, I couldn’t imagine a future for myself. I was extremely disheartened and scared of this horrendous world. It took me months to come back to my senses. My parents never pressured me to get back to my normal life. They gave me enough space and time. I never wanted to leave my house. I always thought all the men out there are contemplating another horrifying experience for me. I went into isolation. But, one day as I was sipping coffee in my back yard, my mom came and sat with me. She didn’t speak a word. After sometime, tears came down my eyes and I cried out loud. My mom didn’t console me. When I stopped crying, she looked into my eyes and told me, ‘you have to become the strongest women in our family and in this world. Do not take this as the end of your life, fight this world and prove that you are not weak’. My mother spoke with me for an hour and I was very astounded by her words. I hail from a male dominated background and to see my mom rise up in such manner was staggering. I have never seen this side of my mom. She told me many things in that one hour and I took days and weeks to debate all she expressed that day. Finally, I gathered all my courage and decided to complete my studies and pursue higher education. I completed my studies, I performed social work, I helped rape victims, and I’m standing here in front of you telling my tale.’
The audience applauded and Lolita was thrilled to see all her accomplishments. Many ladies came up to Lolita and gave her a hug and whispered ‘you are such a brave women.’ She felt obliged to get such honor from this world. Slowly and gradually, the hush-hush of this event faded. It was hard for Lolita to digest the fact that she was the speaker for one of the most renowned NGOs. As her day ended, she kept thinking about her journey from a sixteen year old girl to a twenty eight year old woman. Whenever she recalls on her past, she always thinks how my life would’ve been… had I not been a rape victim?
It was painful for Lolita when she first came out of her shell and faced this world. She remembers how she used to cry all night long and how her fellow schoolmates used to pass remarks on her. When Lolita ponders on that phase of her life, she realized how her image was so weak in front of people. As the years went by, people around her started to see a change in her personality. She no longer looked weak; she always had a daring and fearless look on her face. That personality and gutsy attitude shut the world up!
Lolita’s parents were very supportive of all the decisions she made in her life. They never forced her or tried to change her mind. They knew that they’ll never understand the trauma she went through in her teen years. However, being a parent, they always dreamt of Lolita settling down and getting married to an educated and down to earth man. Because they knew how Lolita reacts towards men, they dared not to ever share this feeling with her. However, Lolita thought otherwise. She didn’t believe in having a husband which is the society norm. She believed to serve her entire life to those victims who struggle for years to cope with the torture they went through.
One day her team decided to nominate her for the “Hero of the Year” award. Lolita was overwhelmed by the gesture of her teammates. She decided to gladly accept the nomination. For her, this nomination was colossal. She wanted to show to her country how NGO’s work relentlessly for the betterment of the society. She wanted to show to all those creatures who believe in inequality. She wanted to show that all the women out there are not weak and can take up any challenge with our without the support of a male partner.
On the day of the ceremony, she went along with her team. Lolita was a bit nervous and happy. Throughout the ceremony, she kept thinking how she will react if she wins this nomination? How it will change her life? While her mind was wandering in her own thought process, she heard the speaker announced the winner and said, “LOLITA!” She won “Hero of the Year” award in her country. She had tears rolling down her cheeks and proceeded towards the podium to collect the award. With the award in her hands, she said to the audience, “We are strong and we will be strong.”