Studies show around 1 in 10 people are attracted to the same sex.
Love and Sex Info
When Nakshatra goes out for a coffee with his mother, they’re both on the look-out for cute men. “Do you fancy that guy?” she’ll say.
Things haven’t always been this way. Growing up in a village, he became aware of his feelings aged 16. A year later, after a move to Mumbai, he told his parents he was gay. His mum said she wished he was dead.
“It runs like a film in my mind. He sat me down on his lap. My mind went blank. But even at age eight with no experience of anything sexual I knew I had to get away and fast.”
Pranadhika Sinha’s parents separated when she was five. She spent her weekends at her dad’s place. Life was cruising along until she was sexually abused by the caretaker.
By Paromita Pain
Driven by her own experiences of abuse, in 2004 Pranadhika set up Elaan, a Kolkata-based organisation to help survivors of sexual abuse.
“I still remember the colours, smells and everything so vividly. I also remember running to my aunt, the only adult in the house. She didn’t take me seriously.
“I didn’t know then that this would be the same tone counsellors would adopt when I looked for professional help. I didn’t speak to anyone else.
“At age 13, I was abused again. This time it was an older girl – one I considered a friend. Sonya, age 15, was prone to behaviour we often termed ‘weird’. She would look suggestively at girls. It took a Sidney Sheldon novel to make me realise that she had no business trying to take my underwear off.
“Why didn’t I speak to my mother? I thought she’d react the same way as my aunt. Then in a discussion came up at school about how trauma can happen to anyone. Finally my teacher helped me speak out about my abuse. And in the end, my parents turned out to be very supportive.
“Reclaiming a healthy sexuality has meant understanding that sex is natural. What is disgusting is when people use sex to manipulate others, especially the young and vulnerable.
“One survivor once asked me, ‘Have you healed completely?’ With the formation of Elaan, I can safely say yes. I respect the past. Maybe the scars will need some more time to disappear but now I know I am not alone.
“Forming relationships has sometimes been difficult. It took time for me to trust people and understand that not all people were out to harm me. Today I have two tattoos on my wrists. They are my best reminders that my past is behind me.”
Read more about Elaan's fight against child sexual abuse and Pranadhika’s advice on preventing sex abuse.
Read more about unwanted sexual behaviour.
Photo: Pranadhika Sinha
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