I'm a survivor: Nadia Jamil's journey on healing from sexual abuse inspires many

Veteran actor has been vocal about victim blaming, shaming survivors

Entertainment Desk September 14, 2023

In a moment of vulnerability, Pakistani actor Nadia Jamil opened up about the realities of building oneself back up after being a survivor of sexual abuse. In a candid moment on the microblogging platform, X, Jamil dove deep into the details of how she turned herself from a survivor to a “thriver.”

The actor has recently spoken rather courageously about her own experience of a grim reality. However, Jamil is adamant on getting the message that shame does not fall onto the survivor across. In her post, she began by acknowledging the pain she endured in respect to her self-esteem and feeling of a loss of happiness, but in a moment of vigor, was sure to take full responsibility for the healing she granted herself.

“It’s taken a long time getting here, but Alhamdulillah I am truly blessed, and can say with my head high, I am a survivor, who learned how to become a blessed thriver. I walked through antagonizing pain, zero self-esteem, constantly out sourcing my happiness, and hiding from situations and people with a deep unhappiness. Till I found the tools to learn how to parent myself; till I found the way to respect myself, protect myself and love myself. I am responsible for taking care of the child within me and I am responsible for every other child whose healing I can somehow facilitate,” wrote Jamil.

She continued on to say, “Healing is possible, the light at the end of the tunnel is real. It’s okay to feel the fear and move towards it. At our own pace. It’s okay to feel sad and own our fears. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to stop and just breathe. Because that’s the most important thing I do anyway. Breathe. The one thing I can’t live without for more than a few minutes, if even that.”

Jamil has been an avid responder against child abuse and took the opportunity to directly address the matter itself. In a moment of heroism, the actor expressed her support for the NotMyShame movement and its founder, Emma-Jane Taylor; calling for others to join hands in support of the cause. “It took me time to find my beautiful tribes. All of them. Especially the tribe that shatters the shame with me. The tribe that says it out loud, it’s #notmyshame. It never was … I was a scared child in the past, I’m a strong adult woman today. Join me Pakistan, and everyone everywhere else in the world, in saying it out loud; the shame ONLY belongs to rapists,” rallied Jamil.

Many were moved by the actor’s bravery in stepping forth and helping pave the path for an undoubtedly significant conversation. Responding to the veteran actor, Indian tennis player Sania Mirza expressed her profound respect for the child rights activist aswell, penning, “You are so truly inspiring. I’ve been following you and everything you do…so so amazing.”

The actor’s courage in coming forth to share her story was initially detailed in an interview with VOA Urdu. At the time, she shared that witnessing the Kasur incident and seeing the horrors that children faced at that time compelled her to give her own experience the importance it deserved. "When the Kasur incident took place, and I saw what those kids were subjected to, that's when I realised that I must give this incident due importance...I thought I must share that [sexual abuse] has happened to me too - not to seek attention, but so that the children realise that it's okay, you're alright. Keep your head held high, and let's live. Let's win, let's play, let's study, let's dream. This was my goal. At that point, I just asked my heart, I did not ask anyone else," shared the actor.

Shedding light on what can be done, Jamil asserted, "How can this be stopped? There are many ways: poverty alleviation, education, social awareness campaigns, teaching children the difference between good and bad touch and that they can speak up against this - because children are extremely afraid, as was I when I was a child. The first thing is to teach your children about identifying good and bad touch. Secondly, even if this happens once, your child must have the self-confidence and trust to tell you this without any fear, so that things do not escalate. Thirdly, there are many areas where we are aware that the illness, this pandemic is rampant...For instance, if there are toilets, they should be inside schools, there should be security cameras."

In her tweets sharing the video of her interview, Jamil expressed that speaking out was not an easy task, but she wanted people to understand the reality of child abuse from a survivor's perspective, free from any dilution. "This was not an easy interview to give. But people should know this is a reality. We hear news reports about such cases, I want you to hear it from a survivor’s voice. Unadulterated. This was not my fault. I was a child," said the actor

Furthermore, she penned, "This is happening even as you read this tweet, a child is being raped. Listen to your children, keep an eye on them, watch for signs of sadness and fear and teach them the difference between good touch and bad touch. Let them know they have a support system in you always, because sometimes children are too small to understand where they can go and what is happening to them. "



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