Yuimi Vashum with Armstrong Pame, Director YAS during the Imphal launch of her book held on June 1. (Morung Photo)
Vishu Rita Krocha
Kohima | June 2
On September 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm, Yuimi Vashum finally decided to give a voice to some disquieting noises inside her head. She began to type like she had a gun pointed at her. The floodgate of despair opened. She doesn’t recall what she typed, but she does recall deleting those words as quickly as she wrote it. It was not because she regretted writing them but because the words were harsh and bitter when she wanted it to be mellow and soft.
For this very reason, the first poem she wrote down for her newly released book- “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”, a PenThrill Publication, was- “Love can be this book”. A survivor of child sexual abuse, which she experienced from the age of seven till she was in her 4th standard, Yuimi Vashum confesses she was loathed with guilt- she blamed herself for what happened and was ashamed. “I bathed myself in the cover of happiness and love- but inside I was battling to take my own life”, she recalls. But her will to live was definitely stronger because somehow, she says, she always came back home even if heavy in distress.
So, when she wrote about this uncomfortable and painful past of hers in the form of poetry, she knew it was not going to be easy. But, she firmly believes that “change begins with an uncomfortable conversation” and so, there she was- in flesh and blood and more poems- to let people stare at the very taboo of child sexual abuse that has snatched so many lives.
At the recently held Imphal launch of her book on June 1, 2018, she had emphasized that, “I write today so that survivors can stop blaming themselves for the acts done to them by sexual predators. I write so that we can start acknowledging the fact that someone we know so well of could be a sexual predator. I write so that kids, women and men can now say NO. I write so that I can prevent a little girl into turning another “me”.”
“Love. Lust. And Loyalty” was officially launched at Dimapur, Nagaland on May 22, 2018 while an informal launch cum discussion of the book will be held on June 4, 2018 in her hometown, Ukhrul, Manipur.
Through this book, she hopes to speak for kids, who had to endure the abuse in silence, because nobody said it was a crime and could seek help; no warnings. The book has sparked discussion on the uncomfortable subject of child sexual abuse among students, young people and different communities.
As she puts across that “forgiveness may not be the answer for all survivors but we need to start talking about it somewhere and break open the secret chambers we have long locked away.” “In silence, denial and shame, we only give courage to sexual predators. The predators have had enough courage, now it’s time to regain ours. The decision to fight silence begin from you and me, you don’t have to realise that as late as I did”, she asserts.