When the Perpetrator denies it all…

The first time I confronted my perpetrator was back in 2003; I was young and naive and didn’t really know how to do it. At the time, I was also feeling ashamed and I hated myself because I had “allowed” the abuse to occur and it hadn’t occurred to me that it was in any way his fault.

It seems strange now that it felt real then. So I spoke to him in riddles, referring to the “old times” rather than actually asking him “Why did you sexually abuse me?”

He spoke in riddles too. He said that those were the darkest alleys of his life and he never wishes to visit them again. This was very comforting to hear. He was “ashamed” of what he had done and, for the moment, it was enough for me, so I clung on to it. I created stories about how difficult his life must have been for him to lash out at little girls like me… How ignorant had he been? and that he needed help and healing.

In a way, I needed his “shame” to get over mine and get over, I did!

A few weeks ago, I finally had the courage to tell my family the identity of my abuser. Those were hard conversations with my shaking body, trembling voice and teary eyes… My family responded with rage; a kind of rage that I hadn’t expected and hadn’t known. My family decided to confront him and it scared me. I didn’t know how he was going to react… I waited impatiently and anxiously…

It all became an anticlimax when he denied it all… He used many excuses and many past family gatherings (where we both were present) to tell my family that he couldn’t do such a thing.

It has been a few hard weeks because I no longer have his shame to “explain” his behaviour; I have his denial. I now have to confront the fact that maybe he had abused me out of the willfulness and evil that resides in him.

I think it was much easier when I had his shame with me. I could find the forgiveness within me and even hope in the possibility of him healing his pain and trauma. His denial is a sign that he is NOT willing to confront this evil inside of him; I feel responsible and helpless…

In my mind, he had been the epitome of almost every Pakistani man that I had experienced. By explaining his shame, I was able to be compassionate to all Pakistani men; I understood why they hit women and children; I understood how hard their life was and how unconscious their pain was. But everything feels different in this moment. Now, I am sitting with the possibility that there is evil rampant among all Pakistani men because over 80-90% of women and children get abused at the hands of these men. How do I accept this?

I feel that I am allowing these Pakistani men to continue their cycle of abuse by not talking about it. I feel that I have the responsibility of letting the world know what goes on behind doors in Pakistani homes and how men treat their wives, sisters and children.

I am sitting with the discomfort of this silence within me. It feels that a storm is coming and it will completely overtake me and I will have no choice but to let myself go with the tide. I feel that his denial is preparing me to confront him in a much stronger way and I am trembling with the sheer responsibility of this humongous task.

To make matters worse, I am reading People of the Lie by Scott M. Peck. In the book, Scott talks about the importance of “naming”. He says that unless we name evil as Evil, we cannot be effective in influencing it. He calls these evil people the People of the Lie. And this is because these people are so unwilling to confront themselves that they have to lie in order to hide their guilt and blame other people. At first, it seems harsh to call these people Evil but I realise that that’s what they truly are. Their denial makes them dangerous for us and dangerous for anyone around them.

Thankfully, my perpetrator is not married and doesn’t have children. I cannot imagine what kind of hell he would have created if he was a father…

But there are many others (Pakistani men) who are fathers, brothers and husbands and who continue to exact their evil over the weak; who continue to disrespect, bully and cause harm to those around them and who are not willing to confront their demons.

I have more questions than answers and I am waiting anxiously to see what revelations and challenges the Universe brings…