Can any other individual feel the pain of a people who is burning to death? The flesh is getting charred, through the veins runs the fire-will there be any sharing of such horrific experience of hell can be shared by any other people?
Their worlds have been shattered. He or she-they can be members of either sex. She can be a teen-yet to feel the blossoming of youth in her body and mind, she can be a young lady who has just felt the advent of spring in her life or she can be a middle aged woman-passing through high tides of life-there is one similarity.
She now bears the scar from the claws of the carnivorous animal-masked as human.
She has been raped. She has been tormented. Against her will-she was compelled to crumble mentally and physically.
We will never understand her silent death-her cold shivering-physical and mental turmoil she is subjected to! Because to us-she is a piece of news- meaty entertaining news which can best be relished at the comfort of our dining room- with the warmth of a cup of coffee. She is a statistics.
She is now a living skeleton………a skeleton whose soul has died long ago.
To The Survivors by Robert Uttaro is the chronicle of the first hand experience of the writer working as a counselor for an organization working with the survivors of sexual violence. Being a male-working with the victims of the heinous crime was by no means easy. First of all-victims are sure to develop a mental barrier with the members of the opposite sex. Because you can well understand most of the victims are from the ‘second sex’! It is natural for them to view males with suspicion. Breaking the ice was not easy for Robert, too. But still it was a journey for the writer-making him realize the true meaning of the word courage. Because it takes a lot of grit, determination and courage for anybody to open up her mind-share her story with anybody…….
And face the realities of life-to live her life once again of her own-as if nothing has happened-as if those days were a nightmare, without any reality.
Often we attribute the rate of crime against woman on socioeconomic conditions of the society, the social structure of a region. Where the society is traditionally patriarch, the incidence of crime against woman is naturally found too high. In backward societies of developing countries of the Dark Continent –woman have virtually no say in the family and in the society-and as expected the rate of crime against women is too high compared to other regions. But developed countries are not lagging behind in this dubious distinction. After all crime against woman is a consequence of outlook and mindset.and the most horrible fact is that in most of the cases prey knows the hunter-offenders are previously known to the victims most of the times. And that makes the job doubly difficult for the victim to speak up. So much so that often the crime against woman is dubbed as the fault of the woman concerned-her dress, her body language.
But Robert’s writing is an eye opener-that woman from highly developed societies are vulnerable too.
Sexual violence causes a storm to the mind of the victim. Often for the rest of the life-she forgets to lead a normal life. She will never trust male-she will never be emotionally attached with a male-she will never dream of making a relation again-when she will make a physical relation once again the past experience will haunt as a nightmare! It can cause the individual serious health hazards. And it takes lots of sympathy and good will from the people like Robert to make her feel that nothing has been lost-it is all well. I think I am a bit wrong-actually it takes lots of effort and sincere dedication-because every victim has a different story-and different approach needs to be adopted.
‘A female survivor once said to me-‘I suffer in my soul.’ Another man once said to me-‘you have no idea the anger I have in my soul.’ Given the limited knowledge we have about our brains and souls, I questions why some people think they have all the answers to what survivors should feel and do. It’s great to offer knowledge and support ,but those who may think they have all the answers of what someone should do in a crisis may actually disempower and confuse the person.’
The Healing Place is a charitable organization dedicated to the sufferings of the tormented souls where Robert joined as counselor. The initial days were full of anxiety to our counselors himself-starting from the day 1 of his training when he discovered himself amid all ladies and he was the sole male. But the environment acted as a catalyst to get out of his cocoon. It was an experience for Robert that has changed his notion of life.
The book presents stories of those brave persons who have conquered their shame-shame for which they are no way responsible. They came forward to share with the world with facts of the crimes. In a language that is straight and simple, trustworthy enough as the writer himself-Robert narrated the stories of their torment-how they were able to pass through those dark, pitch black days and were able to see finally the dawn. The book is by no means an easy read-often there are narrations which disturb mind. As I have said at the beginning-it is not possible for anyone to realize what sea of fire the victim has to cross before sitting in front of the counselor, stating what happened with him or her. It is extremely difficult to pen the torment, the pain, the grief, the despair! Robert made a pious attempt to narrate their experience-however experience is too light a word to describe.
It is hard for the writer to win over the heart of the survivors-often at the beginning he stumbled up. One lady mistook him as a person who had raped her-over phone. It is quite understandable-provided the torment she had undergone, it is natural for her to think any male who is interested on her as a person who has committed the heinous crime on her. But it is sheer determination on the part of Robert that made him to win his crusade –winning over the minds of the persons whose lives have been subjected to the physical and mental turmoil.
It is the story where a splash of thought has became the mission of an individual-an individual who was able to ignite the minds of many person.
Again to think that-we will and can overcome!