It was when I was 17 or 18 that I began to understand that what had been happening to me for so many years was wrong – so one day when he came to jump on me, I kicked him and said no. For the first time in 11 years, I said no to being raped. When I told my mother, she was in shock – she asked me why I hadn’t told her. I told her I had given her signs, that I had tried but she never picked up on it. She said, ‘I never knew such things could happen with boys’ and that was the time I realised that boys and men are the forgotten gender.
“We get abused, but we have no right to voice it because we’re supposed to be the protectors. The victims of ‘masculinity’ are men themselves.
“I have been bullied for many years for my sexual orientation as well, but when I told my story the same classmates who laughed at me became my biggest strength and helped me to cope with my childhood. A part of me believed that I’m gay because of the abuse I went through and it devastated me, but I know now that that isn’t true.
“We tried to get some legal help but we realised that there’s no law against child sexual abuse for boys in the country. By the time I was 18, no laws applied to my case – so there was no justice.
“That’s when I decided that I would make the motto of my life to protect other children from sexual abuse.
“So I’ve been through 11 years of hell but I don’t think the world is a bad place. I thank my bullies, because they got me here – where I have the opportunity to touch other’s lives. I believe that hate only destroys the hater, not the hated – so I don’t think I hate my uncle. To me, he doesn’t exist. In fact If I could, I would send a therapist to help him. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life waiting for him to suffer – I can never get those 11 years back, but I do have a lifetime ahead of me to protect the rights of children, women or the LGBT community and that’s the path I’ve proudly chosen.”
Iyer didn’t let his troubled childhood empower him. Instead, he decided to use it as a foundation from which he helped everyone wronged branch out, find their rightful place in the world, and grasp their claim to justice.