Amatan Noor

Mon Jul 20 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44032ANo

“The feeling of that day is still so palpable in my body I wish I could capture it and lock it away in a jar. When I was 19, I suffered a bad concussion. I was treated by a local neurologist. During one of my check-ups, he assaulted me.

I remember fighting with my mother to drive to the appointment by myself. To win this small battle felt like an act of liberation as someone who grew up in an antiquated Bengali household that protectively guarded daughters more than sons. That day, I couldn’t help but blame myself for going without my mother, not leaving mid-assault, not covering up more, and for reasons that led me down a self-destructive path. I know that my body froze during the assault in order to survive the harm inflicted. I don’t blame my family for not being able to come forward to them. Their struggle for survival was all they could take on at the time.

It would be another 4 years until the criminal trial. I reported my assault, pressed charges, worked with a prosecutor, and prepared for a trial by myself. Navigating the justice system is harrowing. I often longed for openness and support from my family and community. Our community is full of warmth, but flaws are hidden to uphold our reputation. We come from a lineage of women who have had to bury their sexual trauma for the good of society and their fear of it. I wanted to change that by taking action.

The trial was a whole other animal. Facing my abuser years later was chilling. In court, I was gaslighted, set-up to misremember details, subjected to mind-games, and tried in every way to be discredited. The jury found the defendant ‘not guilty’ on all counts.

Post-trial, I suffered from detachment, hallucinations, and crippling anxiety about being attacked by all men. I persevered thanks to CBT, patience, and prayer. My healing is still not complete. My pursuit of justice has taught me to not depend on others to advocate for me. My voice articulates my needs the loudest. If you are a survivor, I believe you unconditionally. Your feelings are valid. No one gets to define what justice looks like for you. Remember, this is YOUR survivorship.”