One of the female celebrities who spoke up about abuse after the Zainab incident was Frieha Altaf. She took to Twitter to talk about her personal experience to prove how common this is in the society.
Frieha Altaf is one of the fiercest women in the industry but she has a story of abuse too
She recently appeared on a TV show called Ek Nayee Subah With Farah and opened up about the abuse that she went through and how it shaped her as a person and impacted her life.
She recalls how when she was six, she was home alone with her siblings and her parents had gone off for some time, her cook at that time took advantage of the situation and abused her
When her parents returned, she gathered the courage to tell her mother what had happened in the course of two weeks in which they were gone. Luckily she believed her and the the cook was arrested. However, she was asked not to talk about it. No one ever brought it up. Not her mother, not her sister and she herself was quiet about it too.
I was sexually abused by our cook at age 6. My parents took action but everyone remained silent as if it was my shame. At 34 I realised how it had impacted my life.the only shame is keeping SILENT #ChildAbuse #shame #NoMoreChildAbuse #MeToo #JusticeForZainab #HowToStopChildAbuse
— Frieha Altaf (@FriehaAltaf) January 14, 2018
This resulted in her thinking that she was not good enough. She had self respect issues and ended up thinking that she was dirty and that she had to be ashamed of herself. This made her marriage difficult years later because she was putting up with a lot. And no one deserves to go through that.
The incident also affected her mother gravely
She suffered a nervous breakdown and had to seek help. But because we refuse to talk about mental health and paint individuals seeking counselling as lunatics, we don’t talk about what we are going through. The entire episode along with the incident was pushed under the rug, as if it never happened although it affected everyone equally.
She then talks about how important it is for a child to not to be afraid of his parents
Many a time, children do not open up about abuse because they are so scared of their parents. In our attempt to discipline them, we scare them away and when incidents like this come up, they shut themselves down and don’t seek help.
Here is the entire video in which she talks about it
It is important to realize a few things after what Frieha Altaf has said:
Abuse is rampant in the society. It happens irrespective of class and status. The problem is that we deny it and we cover it up, which is why abusers roam around freely without the fear of accountability. We snub our children and make them not talk about it. This challenges them emotionally because a child who has experienced something like this needs to vent out his emotions. They need to be told that there is nothing wrong with them but the individual who committed the crime. And we should be close enough to our children that they can share things with us and not go through this trauma alone. There are many children out there who have suppressed stories of abuse because they are either too afraid of their parents or they are afraid to be blamed for what happened. They need help in such situations, and often professional help. Mental health is an important part of healing. We should not stay mum about it at all.
Earlier, on the same show, Saba Qamar had expressed her sentiments over Zainab’s tragic news
Cover image via: dawn.com