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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Malta for 2, £289 pp Flights + Hotel



Hey guys!

This is the last post for today.

It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

So today's last package option as requested by a follower. The request was a few nights anywhere in Europe that I recommend at the end of August. 

I have to add, August is not a month I am particularly keen on travelling, due to the high volumes of tourism and the inflated prices because of school holidays. So if I am able to I travel other months or I go to countries where I don't expect it to be as busy during August. I recommend Malta, which is a popular location among many but it hasn't been found by all yet!

Disclaimer: I am not a travel agent, I cannot control the prices are due to fluctuations and hotel rooms I post may be sold out or inflate in price by the time you book! To obtain the deals I put together, do book as soon as possible.

Details
Location: Malta
Dates: 24th - 28th August 2019 (4 days, 3 nights)
Flights: Expedia is offering return flight for £140 pp. Leaving from Southend and returning to Heathrow Airport in London was the cheapest option, however if you're about to pay more and have a more convenient airport you can adjust this too.

Hotels:
Paradise Bay Hotel - the reviews for this Hotel seem great, it is like a resort and I have read about it on other travel websites. In fact it comes up as the first option when you search "what's the best places to stay in Malta". £158 pp 
They only have 1 room left at this price, don't miss it!

Another good option:
Europa Hotel -  £168 pp - this hotel is down to its final 2 rooms at this price!

I hope this package deal is useful to you guys and if you have any further questions please leave a comment below!


Booking.com

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Magaluf, Mallorca Party Holiday for 5, £216 pp Flights + Hotel






Hey guys!

So on Instagram I get asked a lot about the holiday packages I put together for myself and I do try my best to explain but when doing this I take in many many factors into consideration I could almost write a book about it. So I thought instead of explaining, let me make it easier for you guys and start putting packages together.
It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

So today's first package option as requested by a follower. The request was 3/4 nights in Magaluf, for 5 people, end of June and it's a part holiday:

This is the best price you will find for Magaluf when you have left to book it for now! Right in the centre and breakfast included. You can compare the other hotels and I assure you it will be more expensive. I made sure the flights are on the weekend, because during the week the clubs are not as lit. Although you can party anyway in Magaluf. 


Details:
Magaluf, Mallorca
Dates: 22 nd Saturday - 25th Tuesday June
4 days, 3 nights

Disclaimer: I am not a travel agent, I cannot control the prices are due to fluctuations and hotel rooms I post may be sold out or inflate in price by the time you book! To obtain the deals I put together, do book as soon as possible.

Departure and return flight: EasyJet flight booking £118 pp 

6.45 am from Southend Airport on the 22nd June - leaving early means you have the whole day to spend in Magaluf and no minute is waste. You'll land, look around, rest, and get ready to party Saturday night!
If you choose a different departure airport in London, prices won't vary as much. 

Return: 25th June - 2.30 pm

1st Hotel option: 
4 days, 3 nights - 3* Adults only Hotel! Often visited by party groups. 
£104 pp 

2nd Hotel option:
Lively Mallorca - Adult only Hotel
4 days, 3 nights - 3* Adults only Hotel! Often visited by party groups. 
£98.80 pp - Buffet breakfast included!! Your hangover is sorted.
Lively Mallorca only has 3 rooms left on their site! 

I personally really like the look of this hotel! It is not directly in Magaluf, it is in Palmanova, only a 7 minute drive away from Magaluf. Taxis in Palma de Mallorca are VERY cheap! This ride will not cost you more than 5 euros for everyone together - if you're getting charged more, you're getting conned. 


When I went we stayed in Palma, which was a 15-20 minute drive away, he even went on the motor was and it cost us 20 euros max. So yes it is very cheap!
Remember, if you're booking these hotels please use the links I used in this blog post by booking straight through them and I can keep providing this free service to everyone! 

Things to do in Mallorca:
If you're there to party you could just party through the whole weekend. Palma however has way more to offer than that if you have time!

El Arenal - this beach is beautiful!!! Way less packed than Magaluf beach and the water is crystal clear. You can pay for a taxi to take you there from Magaluf, negotiate a reasonable price. 
Make sure you go to Palma for a day for some sight seeing and go see the Catedral Basilica de Santa Maria. 


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NICE, FRANCE - Undercover Holiday for 2 , £173 pp Flights + Hotel


Hey guys!

So on Instagram I get asked a lot about the holiday packages I put together for myself and I do try my best to explain but when doing this I take in many many factors into consideration I could almost write a book about it. So I thought instead of explaining, let me make it easier for you guys and start putting packages together.
It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

So today's first package option as requested by a follower:

NICE, FRANCE

Travel Dates: 2nd-5th September (4 days, 3 nights)
Costs: ~ £173 pp - Flights + 3* Hotel + Breakfast included

Disclaimer: I am not a travel agent, I cannot control the prices are due to fluctuations and hotel rooms I post may be sold out or inflate in price by the time you book! To obtain the deals I put together, do book as soon as possible.

Flights
Departure to Nice:
Jet2.com - 2nd September - Departure 8.15 am - London (STN)
Early departure, meaning you have the whole of the 2nd September still to explore in Nice.
£31 pp - Jet2.com book here

Return to London:
NOTE: different airline to allow lower pricing.
Ryanair - 5th September - Departure: 21.35 pm at Nice airport.
Late departure, meaning you can make use of the whole of your last day after hotel check out before heading to the airport.
39.46 pp - Ryanair book here - remember to purchase hand luggage for £10 pp with Ryanair as it is no longer included in the ticket price.

Hotel in Nice

Appart'City Nice Acropolis - £99.50 pp including continental breakfast
Only 5 rooms left! Studio Double room or Twin double room available at this rate.
Booking links: Appart'City Nice Acropolis - on the cheaper side, 3*, close access to metro station

Remember if you're trying to save money, public transport (metro) is very cheap in most countries and you probably just have to take 1 stop! If you're trying to save don't be too fussed about being right in the centre.


Second Hotel option, in case the above sells out at the same price.  - £115 pp
Booking link: DAYS INN Nice centre

Third Hotel option: Hotel Parisien - £115 pp
High satisfaction rate - only 2* in comparison to other 2 hotels, located in the city centre,
Booking Link: Hotel Parisien


Some the things you could do in Nice:
French Riviera tour from Nice
You even have enough time to do a half day trip to Monaco!
Half day trip to Cannes!
Enjoy the beach sunshine, shopping and visit the various museums. It won't be as hot as in the summer, but have the perfect amount of warmth in the first week of September.


I hope this post is useful and do let me know if you guys use the links I provided to book!


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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Journal Entry of an Overdose Survivor



Hey guys!
Following my last blog posts a friend of mine has come forward with a journal entry that she wrote after she had drug overdosed and survived. She is a survivor and reading this entry had me crying because I knew how she felt, but reading her words made it harder and it hit me how she actually felt. I think it is important to see the perspective of someone who is suffering from depressing by reading the thoughts they are battling with. Please take your time to read this and let me know what your thoughts are, I will be sharing them with the person who made this entry. 
                                                                       

                                                 28th March 2019
The summer of 2017, I felt like I was pushed into a deep, dark hole. Everything spiralled out of control. I could hear screaming and shouting, dark figures lashing at each other, but it was all blurry and distorted. For what felt like eternity, I kept on trying to move into a corner and curl up into a ball, but I used to do that when I tried to escape a nightmare, why was I doing that at 20? I felt tears stinging my eyes, my mind was clouded, and I wanted to scream for help, but a hand would cover my mouth. No, not a hand. My hand. My pride. No one else needed to know what was going on, it was just a phase. I wasn’t sure who was speaking to me, but I assumed my pride was telling me this, so I carried on because it was just a phase. However, it wasn’t a phase. The dark figures were trying to tear each other apart, I covered my ears, but I couldn’t escape the noise, and this happened constantly. Every day, I felt like I was being dragged across a splintered floor and that someone was banging my head against the wall. Yet I had no marks, no bruises. Was I imagining this pain that was ringing loudly in my head? Whatever it was, it felt painful anyway. Sometimes, I would be pushed into a pool and I would be gasping for air, trying to grab onto the waves but it was no use. I felt like I was dying, and I cried but the tears dissolved into the water, nothing more, nothing less. The more I struggled, the more I drowned but then, the pool disappeared, and I was back in my bedroom. I could feel my strength slip through my fingers like sand and I was trying to pick up each grain, but it was no use, I was losing myself slowly. I had no idea why though. There was a strange tightness in my chest as well, as if I had been holding my breath for eternity. The smallest incidents made me crumble; I was crying instead of fixing. I ran away from everything. I was suddenly wary of who to trust, I was contemplating who my real friends were. All I saw were faces and I didn’t want to risk being hurt if someone was untrustworthy, so it was easier to let go of everyone. Every bit of energy was drained from me, I didn’t what was sucking the life out of me though, I turn to every corner, peered into every crook and cranny but I couldn’t find the culprit. Suddenly, being happy sounded like a chore. The smile felt fake, like I moulded my mouth into that shape. The glint of happiness in my eyes, it faded. I had no idea who was looking back at me in the mirror. I didn’t want my family or my friends near me, I just tried to please everyone but I always craved solitude. What on earth was going on? Why was I trying to battle myself unexpectedly?  November 30th, 2018, probably one of the worst days of my life. It was the day that set the agonising truth into stone, and I couldn’t simply erase it. I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I couldn’t put a name to this dark feeling for so long, it felt like I was naming a demon. The reason why I say that, the word ‘depression’ was on my lips but also all the way back in the abyss of my mind. It felt sinister and cursed, as if I was doomed if I even said the word aloud. I knew that’s what it was called yet I refused to accept it because now the demon didn’t need to hide away in the shadows, instead it looms over me, poking me and twisting me at its own will. It hurt more now that I knew what it was. I couldn’t tell anyone, what would they say? What if they thought I was a burden? A liability? I didn’t want to face that feeling of rejection, so it was more soothing to push away the people who cared than to feel hurt. Seeking help was simple but I convinced myself that no good would come of it, so I suffered alone. The demon pranced around, taunting me, telling me that it was going to end badly. When I told my loved ones what was going on, I expected everyone to immediately walk away. To my surprise, they all stayed. I used a tiny bit of courage to tell them but collectively, they all slowly pulled me out of the darkness. The daily encouragement, advice and love was all I needed to carry on. However, it was still my own mission to overcome the depression and anxiety.
March 26th, 2019. I decided to take my own life. To say that sounds very fictional and I would not have thought that I would’ve brought myself to that point, but I did. I can’t put a finger on why I decided to commit suicide however I remember I was going through my mental ‘To-do list’ and that list just got longer and longer and longer. I was on my way back to university and I was on the Underground. During that time, I could feel my heart racing and tears were forming in my eyes, there was a surge of panic that went through me and I knew I was having a panic attack but I also knew that until I could get signal on the Underground, I was pretty much by myself on the train. For another gruelling half an hour, I tried to calm myself down and the moment I reached King’s Cross, I broke down. I was balling my eyes out in public and I felt so many eyes of pity on me, yet no one helped me. I felt nauseous and light headed, probably because I was burning myself out from just overthinking, but I knew I had enough. Problems were coming in from all corners, whether it was regarding my personal life or my academics, it got too much.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had suicidal thoughts, but this was the first time that I tried to do it. My wellbeing advisor first told me that the reason why my thoughts would linger off to the dark side was because I found comfort in death. The feeling of not feeling anything at all. So, I decided to overdose on Paracetamol since I had a packet of it my bag. I can’t remember how many I tried to take but I came back to my senses very quickly and I ran to my housemate. I told her everything and I felt shocked and ashamed. Then everything was a blur afterwards. Countless phone calls to 111 were made but I was balled up on my housemate’s bed. The future seemed hazy and I was too scared to do anything from that point, so I stayed in bed the next day. Having any kind of contact with the outside world was not an option. I didn’t want to hear sympathy nor anger from anyone for wanting to kill myself. My eyes sting a little every time I revisit this memory, but wounds heal over time and I’m trying to build up more courage, hopefully I can become immune to all the pain.The way I can describe why people would commit suicide is not because they no longer want to live but that they longer want to feel, and I get that. Right now, I’m trying to adjust and adapt to my depression as it is still a new part of my life and I know that I need to accept that there’s no remedy for it. However, the one thing that stopped me from overdosing was the thought of my family and friends. I have photos of people who mean the world to me on my wall and I realised that I could not let them go through with that. One of my friends was told immediately about what happened and he didn’t want to talk to me because he was so annoyed, and he said he would have shouted me. Instead, he sent a text and told me that there are people who care and are dependant on me. I read Mathu’s blog post and I had no idea how she felt about what happened and it crushed me. As someone who has tried to take her life, I can tell you that I probably caused more pain to the people I love than to myself. There are a few more of my closed ones that still don’t know, and I’m not prepared for them to know but it is something I must do for my own peace of mind.This paragraph and the last are additions to this journal entry I wrote, and I was inspired to share it after reading Mathu’s blog post on mental health. I don’t want to portray this as a sob story or create a pity party for myself and I fear this could come across as seeking attention hence why I’ve decided to stay anonymous. However, I wanted to share my story because I still have strength to carry on and I know you do too. You probably don’t realise but there are people who care for you and who would be heartbroken if you were no longer there. I’m not expecting you to take this all as advice because quite frankly, the hardest advice to take is your own and I will probably have another bad day so in that case, I’m afraid I would have to take back my own word. Alternatively, this could be a tiny smidge of inspiration. Being Tamil and having a mental illness is a lot to carry on my back but I do hope this post gives you a small fragment of courage and that it’s ok! Don’t assume that if you are from an ethnic minority that even you must treat your mental health as taboo, there are millions of humans out there who are in the same position as you. If you do feel depressed or suicidal, tell someone.
Now, I have a whole new perspective of almost everything and it’s currently about reconnecting with the old and discovering the new. Since I could have easily ended everything in one impulsive swoop, life has a different meaning. I’ve never really had petty spats with anyone, but I’ve had disagreements and now, it seems pointless to dwell on it. So, I ask you, if you’re currently indulging in foul gossip or holding that grudge on someone, is it worth it? Is it worth having that hatred towards someone else when you can just let it go and get on with working on you? I’m not a monk or a motivational speaker but I’ve forgiven everyone in my mind and I’m at peace with that. I wake up every morning wishing I was just ‘going through a phase’ but my depression is here to stay unfortunately. Nevertheless, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’.





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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Suicidal and Anxious at University



Hey guys,

Now that I have started talking about serious matters, why stop here? I have so much more to say, things that are not spoken about enough. On today's Sunday post, I want to speak to you guys about mental health specifically at university. The pressures and struggles students go through are often joked about through memes most of which mental health related but you know it is easier to laugh it off and share it with your friends that can relate than actually think of it as a serious mental heath issue. If you're a student you know what I am talking about.
Every single one of the four years I have been at university were very different. This year has been by far the toughest. I have lost count of how many times I have cried this year and I am not one to cry ever. Once I realised I was not the only one and more of my friends started opening up to me about things related to their mental health and I realised a mutual factor between us all - final year, university students. We started feeling the pressures of life. I remember in December I sat down and wrote a personal statement specific to a role I really wanted and it took me 8 hours and I accidentally erased it all with the push of one button. I was so hurt, I started crying for hours. It felt like the end of the world. I was able to retrieve the document but I didn't end up getting the job anyway, point is that application meant a lot to me. Another day, I found myself in the library cubicle on the floor just crying my eyes out and trying to breathe but not being able to breathe. The pressure is overwhelming and I used to think that was a sign of weakness, it really is not. It just showed to me how much I cared about this degree. 

From passing out, constant crying, sleepless nights, an uneasy empty feeling in my hart all pointed toward signs of continuous anxiety. This definitely was not a healthy level of stress anymore. My heart would pound, frequent fever, my entire immune system was collapsing but guess what I didn't have a single minute to stop and get myself back up because we were just hit by deadlines one by one. Even if I managed to sleep one night, it wasn't enough. I did about 15 all nighters last month and that definitely was not a healthy amount. Please don't get me wrong, this all didn't happen because I am last minute. I sat in the library and tried every single day, on top of working on the weekends since I have no financial privileges. It just wasn't enough. I take much longer to process and actually get writing on important tasks. It's not because I don't try, because I do try very hard.
From my point of view, I will be the first person in my family to obtain a degree, I am also the eldest of all the cousins and so yes the pressure is on. I want to do well because I have to make my family proud and also have a career that puts me in a financially good position. So yes, it is all on me or it feels like that at least. It is the least I can do for my parents, I had the privilege of getting to even attend university and live an easy life. It is my job to pay them back and that is not me being too harsh on myself, yes it is my parents' responsibility to care and provide for me but the same way it is for me to pay them back than being selfish and provide for my own future. 

Words cannot describe the feelings I have felt this year. It then came as a relief when I found out that I am not the only one suffering from severe anxiety. My friends have opened up to me about how they are feeling, and you know what the scary part is all of us have said "I wouldn't mind if I died right now".  It all started as a joke and a simple statement that actually described how we felt. Until one day, I find out that my friend has just attempted to commit suicide. It all came crashing. We were all battling through University together but for someone to come to the point of taking their  life, it broke me. Just the thought of losing a friend burnt my heart down. It is difficult to not feel alone in this world. Even when there is so many people around you, it is not easy to not feel like you are loved or cared for. Especially, if you are a person to give it all for the people around you, but it is getting taken for granted by simply brushing it off as you being a kind person. I totally understand that and these days I am always one to tell someone if I love them or miss them. People need to know their value on this earth and I cannot risk losing a friend. If you are feeling down, suicidal and depressed and are reading this please listen to me - you are loved in this world  and I care for you.
When someone comes up to you with how stressed they are please don't just dismiss it by statements like "don't worry we are all stressed too" "don't worry you got this" "It's normal, just work hard and get through it". It is a scream for help, pay attention to the little things in life, that's how you miss the simple signs of someone suicidal. Rather than saying such statements, stop them and say "why, what happened?", ask questions, get them to open up. Again, Mental health is as real as it can get! People die from it. 

University does feel like the end of a long journey and yes all the pressures are on, but it is not the end of the world if things don't go right the first time. Be persistent, do not give up and there if your overall goal is clear then you have the ability to go far and pursue your goals. Please seek the help you need. Mental health is real. I went to seek help for my anxiety at University, I have been talking to someone about everything and medication was offered to me but I am trying to get through it all without any beta blockers. 

In recent times, there is an increased amount of University students committing suicide which is why I am making you all aware of it. It is a cry for help! University is tough, it is not just going out, having fun, getting drunk and living a good life. However, you have the strength to get through it and if you don't feel good that is okay too. The reason I am telling this to you all is because if you don't feel good, you're not alone, neither do I, neither do my friends. We are all seeking the help we need and we will get out of this stronger and better. We will all heal. 



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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sexual Harassment - I Have More To Say!



Hey guys,

I would like to first of all thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of positive responses I have been receiving on my last blog post about Sexual Harassment and my story.  I didn't expect for the story to be read, shared and spread as much as it did but it was intended for the purpose of awareness, so I am glad it did. I appreciate the way my post is being used to get the community into the positive direction toward the issues around sexual harassment and assault. I do however have a request to you all which is to please get to the bottom of this blog post and to take the things I am saying into consideration the next time you hear about assault.
Ever since my story was published which was only two days ago, I have been receiving positive feedback, but it also made me realise why our community and society is not progressing regarding this issue and why these criminals are getting away with it - repeatedly. 

Victim shaming. 

It begins with us as a society. Over the days I have been acknowledged for my bravery and confidence but none of that means anything to me if the lack of knowledge on the issue results in comments that take the community two steps back. 
"Why are victims coming out now years after assault, why not act on it straightaway?"
"Why are these girls trying to create awareness now?" 
"Why are they not naming and shaming the perpetrators?" 
"It's the girls' duty for the greater good and safety of other girls to name and report these men."
"If they didn't get raped and it's only a touch then they're lucky, why is it a huge deal."

For a woman to make the decision to come and share her story is a big thing. Everyone did not fail to realise that because everyone did call me brave and my bravery was acknowledged but the word "brave" is just being thrown around. Do you actually realise why it is a brave move? 
When a woman gets sexually harassed/assaulted, that moment onward her life has been changed. It does not matter at which age it happens. You are forever left with the memory of what had happened and how it made you feel. It never leaves you and some moments in life may bring back those days and act as triggers. So yes, processing it takes days, months or even years so please society - do not shame the victim for coming out about them years after! Dear women, your story is never too late to be told! You are carrying the effects of it with you for years, so let the world hear what you are having to bear on your mind! 

 We all have an idea of how we would act in a moment like that and tell ourselves that we will be strong, brave and speak up. Did you not all call me strong and brave? Yet did I not lose my voice both times I was sexually harassed? Trust me, I wanted to scream at the cyclist who assaulted me and scream at my instructor who harassed me. If you know me, you know that I am not likely to hold back but in that moment the fear, the shock - took my voice! So, for one, please don't advise a victim on how they should've acted in the moment. 
Next up, is expectations. Yes, reporting the person who assaulted you is important and will help many other women but do not put that pressure on the person who just decided to come forward with their story to you. I am not only talking about myself here, but it is the remaining girls I am worried about. It is a matter of comfort and trauma. Not only are women the victims, now society has expectations as to what these victims should be doing as well? It's like telling a person who got hit by a car to go look for the driver and teach them how to drive. It is not the victims’ responsibility! 
Yes, if the courage is there and you're ready to do so, I am all for it but please do not pressure a person into it, they went through multiple things as it is.  They know that the right thing to do is to report but there is reasons as to why they haven't done so yet. Give them their space and time. The decision is to be made by the victim.

Some of the questions I have been receiving made me realise why woman don't speak up, because you trying to help is you actually achieving the opposite and is stopping other women from speaking up. Stop normalising sexual harassment and assault! "so many girls get touched up" "rape happens a lot" "many men are like this, it has been happening for years it is not going to stop now". This mentality is what is taking us all back! Just because Hitler had many Germans behind him killing Jewish people - was it right? Was it normal? Did the world not stop him? Did change not come about? 
If you make such comment around another woman who was about to speak up, you have just stopped her from doing so. Congratulations. You don’t know who around you are suffering and who isn’t telling a story. Your sister, cousin, mum. Believe it or not, almost every female I am friends with has admitted to a story of harassment and assault to me, including rape. I was told because they felt comfortable telling me and some came forward once they realised they were not alone. So please, before you speak and make a comment about another female to a female - think!

I wanted to break this down to you one by one. As someone who has gone through it, I have come to realise that if it had never happened to you before, you will fail to understand what victims of sexual assault and harassment go through. I never wish for anyone to go through it but educating everyone on the issue is the only possible way I see this problem in the community being dealt with. 

Every person that has made any remarks questioning a victims' story is guilty of taking the community two steps back. If this is you and you may be making these remarks without realising the severity and impact you are having, please for the sake of us victims, the least you can do is not say anything at all instead of demolishing the hard work that has been put into this all in one go. Stop questioning the victim, they are not who have to be dealt with. 
The feedback I have been receiving about my last post was all positive and I greatly appreciate that but I have written this to make sure that everyone understands it the perspective of the girls that go through it.
As interesting and scandalous the last post was, this post has a greater importance to me. I know it is shocking to read a story like that and you wanted your friends and family to know about it which is why it was shared so rapidly but knowing my story is only one step. My story has been heard for which I am grateful but to make this awareness go further I would like the community to make this change so please do share this post for me with as many people as possible and let the voices of the women going through sexual assault be heard. Let more of them come out and for that to happen the society and community needs to take the aforementioned points into consideration.
“If there is going to be change, real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That’s how change happens.” – Howard Zinn




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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sexual Harassment - Here's My Story.



Hey guys,

I'm going to write a blog post that I never imagined myself writing. I didn't think sharing this would be beneficial to anyone in any way and frankly I was not ready to share this with more people than my close friends for the longest time. I've made the decision to share this story now because after talking to my friends, I realised it is happening to too many of us and it is not uncommon. It is not something I should be feeling ashamed about, which I did for a very long time until I realised, I was the victim and no I didn't let this happen to me. I had no control over it. 

This is a rarely spoken about topic within the Tamil community and I am hoping to make more of you aware that it does happen - a lot! We have the mentality of thinking any form of harassment and assault are not committed by Tamil men or boys because -why would they. The community looks down on such behaviour and we are made to believe that there is no way it could happen. We feel safer because you don't expect people from the same background, values and morals to commit such crimes. Well guess what you're wrong. Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Boyfriends - men of any age and relation to have committed acts on women in the Tamil community and I have heard enough stories from my girl mates. I wish I could erase all those painful memories for every single girl that went through this.

So here's my story....
In 2014, I started taking driving lessons, I was 17. My driving instructor was Tamil and he has taught many people from around the area. He also taught a family friend of mine, she passed, and she recommended him to us. At first lessons went well but soon he would start asking questions like "so where does your dad work?". "What does your mum do? Are they busy and are they home a lot?". 
I am a very cautious person and at this point I started feeling like something is weird so I told my mum that he is asking me a lot of personal questions about my family during lessons and that I try to swerve them by not giving away much information. My mum said that a lot of Tamil people are just curious about your life and to ignore it and not to tell him anything. 
I was running late one time because I went to a friends' birthday party and I messaged him saying I will be late, so he offered to pick me up from the station for the lesson instead of outside my house which seemed reasonable. I was wearing makeup that day and looked nicer than usual. I didn't like the way he looked at me that day, but I still didn't think much of it. Why would a man in his 50s, with a wife and children look at me like that right?
So now it's December 2014 and it's Christmas day. He always sends Christmas wishes to every one of his students. I was at my family friends' Christmas dinner party that night and we both received the text saying Merry Christmas and obviously I replied saying thank you. That's when he took the chance and continued messaging me. He asked me what I was doing that day, so I replied saying that I am having a Christmas dinner with my family and ended the conversation. I felt weird as it was because it's 11.30 pm. Why is my driving instructor trying to send me text messages?

I know at this point it already sounds like he is a creep and the signs were there but what was I supposed to do? He hadn't done anything that I could accuse him of and what do I tell my parents? 

Time goes by and I am already on lesson 24 of two-hour sessions. He would talk to me about his daughters during lessons. One of them is the same age as me. Occasionally, he would mention something about his wife too. As time passed and I was near the end of my lessons, is when he became brave...I was holding the steering wheel and he put his hand on top of mine while I was driving. I was in a position where I didn't want to die by crashing and I couldn't be like "wth are you doing" either. I was 17 and scared. Why was he touching me? It didn't stop there. The next thing he did is he put his hands on my thigh and slowly moved up until I kicked my leg. I stalled. I was shaking. I was about to take an exit on a roundabout and I had to focus on the road, but this man just put his hand on my legs. My voice left me. Even now writing about it, I'm shaking. He made it seem like it was necessary to put his hand there to help me steer. I was so scared at this point and I came home, and I didn't know how to tell anyone, especially because this man has three daughters. Women before me have passed their driving with him. So why me? 

I continued attending lessons and then it was my 18th Birthday. 14th January 2015, I receive a text on the way to school from him: "Happy Birthday baby x". I was ready to cry. It was my 18th birthday and it couldn't have been any worse. He tried to call me. I declined. He texted me repeatedly. "Baby what's wrong?" There were much worse messages I am wishing to not reveal.
Let me say this to you again - A GROWN MAN in his 50s, with a wife and three daughters. 
That feeling will never leave me. That's when I had solid evidence that he had other intentions. I couldn't tell my mum face to face, I never spoke about it to my mum. I texted my family friend because I couldn't tell her verbally and I sent screenshots. I begged her to get me away from this man and to tell my mum. 
I am so lucky that he didn't do anything crazier than that. He could've driven me off to any place and anything could've happened to me. He shouldn't even be allowed to be an instructor and I should've reported him, and I feel bad for not doing so. I am worried for the girls that are still going to his classes. I am just not ready to name and shame this man and to deal with the consequences that will have an impact on my life. Neither do I want to destroy the girls' image of their father. 
After all that happened, and I stopped going to his classes he STILL had the guts to send me a friend request on Facebook in which his wife was on his profile picture. I was disgusted and to this day I fear him seeing me on the road. I deleted his number, blocked it and deleted the messages. I was scared.
I changed driving instructor and I realised this man didn't even teach me how to drive properly. He just let me drive however I wanted to. He never corrected me. His intentions were to not send me to an exam for as long as possible. Months pass and it is the day of my driving exam, I am now with my new driving instructor. I am about to enter the car for my exam and my old driving instructor passes me with the biggest smile on his face into the test centre. All the flashbacks came crashing down but I had to stay brave and just get on with my driving exam and I passed.

These memories came back to me when I was recently harassed on the road in front of people.
Back to 2018....10.30 pm on a cold winter day in December. I was walking home in Germany. I was in my waitressing clothes which was a pair of jeans and long jumper. I looked exhausted and I can really say I didn't look like anything special. I could hear someone fast approaching me, so I held onto my bag as tightly as possible and started walking faster because I thought I was going to get robbed. It was a man on a cycle who approached me from my back, he slapped and groped my bum. It was so loud that everyone that was still on the road saw. The slap was so hard it hurt. It was an unwanted touch and I ran home, locked myself in my room and cried myself to sleep. Why would you do that to a girl? 

That’s my story. The reason I shared it is because I want everyone to know that you’re not out there alone suffering. Creating awareness on this topic is the first step toward the right direction in our community.
These experiences have not stopped me from being who I am now. I am still the brave, active, social girl that I am. I am not going to hide and stop myself from exploring and achieving things. When I announced that I am travelling solo everyone said – wow you’re brave. It’s dangerous to do that. Well I wasn’t safe in London either with my parents present.  "Safety" is a concern anywhere in the world. You think you are safe just because you are in the western world. I would love to believe that too, but too many of us have been victims to sexual abuse, harassment and assault for it to be true. 

I hope sharing my story will have a positive impact.
Thank  you for reading it all and to create the awareness I wouldn’t mind this story being shared as everyone involved remains anonymous.

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