Boxer Mary Kom’s Shocking open letter to her sons : Your mother was molested, first in Manipur, then in Delhi and Haryana

Mary Kom and her husband Onler with their son

Speaking out against sexual abuse is scary, but now more and more celebrities are using their platform to raise awareness about the heinous act and inspire the survivors.

Several celebs like Kalki Koechlin, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga have revealed that they were sexually assaulted in their younger days.

Now, boxer Mary Kom, who is a role model for all genders, has come and revealed that she was molested as a teen. She revealed this in an open letter she wrote to her sons. The letter is part of a social campaign called #LetsTalkAboutRape, an initiative by The Hindustan Times in which celebrities talk about rape and sexual abuse.

The Manipuri boxer’s letter is a powerful one detailing her experience of sexual violence.

Despite being a woman who has won nuemrous medals beating opponents to pulp, Mary Kom reveals that she was “molested first in Manipur and then again while she was out with her girl friends in Delhi and Haryana’s Hissar.”

Mary Kom, who is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, writes in the letter, “I know it is shocking to learn that even a woman who has earned her spurs, boxing her way through life, was made to feel violated.”

While detailing her experiences for her three son (9-year-old and 3-year-old), the 2003 Asian Games gold medallist recounted the unfortunate incident in her letter.

“I was on my way to my training camp at 8.30 in the morning in a cycle rickshaw when a stranger suddenly lunged at me and stroked my breast. I was angry, very angry.

“I leapt off the rickshaw and chased him, holding my slipper in my hand, but he managed to escape. My regret is that I could not catch him or the karate that I had already learnt by then, would have come in handy.”

The Olympics bronze medallist leaves all the conventional ideas of gender roles on the floor of the ring, pretty much like she left her opponents.

Talking about her husband Onler, sha said, “You grow up in a home where we teach you respect and equality. Your father does not go out to do a nine-to-five job – like you see your friend’s dads doing – because one of us must always be there for you.”

The Rajya Sabha MP, who got married in 2005, added, “I have the utmost respect for your father who now dedicates his time for me and for you all. You will soon hear the words ‘house husband’ but remember that’s not a slur; neither is it derogatory. He’s my strength, my partner, who walks with me through every step I take.”

She doesn’t hide the fact that citizens of the country who are from the North Eastern states still face racial discrimination. “You might be walking with me one of these days to hear your mother being called a ‘chinky’. That is a slur. That is racist.” She reaffirms that she is Indian and they too are growing up as Indians.

While the Olympian isn’t saddened by the fact that she may not be as recognisable as a MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, but what puts her off is the fact that she is referred to as ‘chinky’. “My country has given me fame and recognition but I am not recognised by each person on the road – as an MS Dhoni or a Virat Kohli will most certainly be – but I do not deserve to be called ‘chinky’.”

And what she ends her letter with a piece of advice for men, that should be part of the school cirriculum across the world. “I would fail in my duty as a mother, if I did not tell you – all great sons of this country – that we alone have rights to our bodies. Respect women when they say ‘No’. Don’t stalk them to death because they have said ‘No’. Rape is not about sex; it is only about a misplaced sense of power and revenge.

“Desire is beautiful when it is reciprocal. We have often heard the explanation of ‘boys will be boys’. Let’s build a society where girls can be safe, secure and respected,” the Padma Bhusan awardee writes.