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Yeshey – Bhutan

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Yeshey is a pseudonym.

When I finished third grade, I went home for vacation. I was then about thirteen years old. I was worried whenever my relative came home drunk at night and wondered whether I would get beaten up or should kill myself. He sexually assaulted me and said he would kill me if I told anyone. So that’s why I never said anything, not even to my close friends or family.

He took me to a hospital and afterward he’d give me a pill every day after my meal. A few days later, I started bleeding, heavy bleeding. I thought it was menstruation at first but now I realize it wasn’t.

I kept thinking my body is no longer mine because not only was I sexually abused but I was also physically abused. I wasn’t healthy like I am now. I didn’t get enough food to eat and I had to run away from him to avoid getting beaten. I kept thinking that I’d only live for a few years because my body was in pain.

Someone reported what was happening to the police but I don’t know who. They came and took the perpetrator and me in for questioning together. I was scared because he was there, but I told the police everything because they said they were planning to send me somewhere safe and I got some confidence when I heard that. That night, they thought I’d kill myself so they kept someone with me.

They put me in a small police cell but I was happy because it was still a safer place than home. At least I was not being beaten. The thought of being taken to a shelter even stopped my suicidal thoughts.

A dasho (government representative) came and found me in the cell. She scolded the person who put me there and took me to the shelter. Most of the children are there due to their own experiences but we didn’t ask each other and respected one another not to tell.

When I was taken for a hospital check-up, I was afraid I would have some diseases like HIV/AIDS. The medical staff were very softly spoken, explained everything, and supported me, they told me not to be afraid when they examined me and did tests to check if I was pregnant.

But I did not see the medical report and I still don’t know the results. Even now, I don’t like hospitals and try to avoid them. I’m worried that if I go to the hospital, I might find out I have some diseases from my experience and I don’t want to be unhappy because of that.

My case was not taken to court and I wonder what happened because they did not tell me anything. I didn’t ask because we were related. He was my own brother.

Sexual violence in Bhutan

Sexual violence in South Asia