City-based author Shilpa Menon talks about her recently released book ‘Scars do heal’ that weaves a profound story around the life of a rape survivor and her rediscovery of her life, through healing
The Nirbhaya episode of December 16, 2012. Although a lot of debates and changes in legislation followed thereafter, many questions remained unanswered in my mind. How many Nirbhayas will it take for the conscience of this nation to wake up? How many more will be subjected to such gruesome assaults? And what about the many Nirbhayas who prefer to hide in silence, and about those who end their lives than to suffer social stigma? How many Nirbhayas are hushed and forced to suppress their untold voice? Will crime against women ever come to an end? These were questions that I pondered over and what transpired was a question I had for myself – What can I do to strike a chord with people on this subject? That is how I found a reason. I began interacting with victims who had endured and survived sexual assault. It didn’t take me long to understand the depth and severity of their sufferings and that became the driving force for me to write Scars do heal.
How was the experience of interacting with rape survivors?
It was an eye opener because it was difficult for anyone to even imagine what survivors go through. It was a lot to take emotionally when I learned about the atrocities. While a survivor may seem to have forgotten the incident and got on with her life, there is usually a high level of denial and repression of feelings around the incident.
What is the message that you want to convey?
There are two things. The first one is to increase awareness and sensitise people about the rampant crime against women and its aftermath. By understanding what the victims go through, it is my hope that society may become more empathetic, become better support systems and constructively assist in their healing. The second is that the journey of life does not end just because of a horrific incident that occurred in the past and love is a powerful healer. The journey of self-discovery can bring about in the life a rape victim, a healing transformation, a transcendence that emboldens the victim into a victor.