Showing posts with label Woman's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woman's Day. Show all posts

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Raped by My Man

Two decades ago, when I was raped by a man while vacationing in Kerala, I didn't know what I'd do.
My family didn't take it seriously and brushed it aside. They thought I was lying. 

I was raped twice after that. 

For many years since then, I lived with the abnormal fear and mistrust of strangers. I suffered at school - was bullied right through high school. I hated and tortured my body and held myself responsible for what some guy did to me. I craved for love, ended up in relationships that had no trust and it affected me in as many ways it would have affected a woman.

While my wounds have healed since then, when I hear about abuses against women, I question how much of that goes unreported.
For every rape outside of a relationship that does get reported, there are 100's of wives who are being raped by their husbands that goes under the radar.

The perpetrator will enjoy his 3 minutes of sexual domination and roll off to his side of the bed, and sleep.
Shocked, in pain and still trying to grasp what just happened, she isn't going to sleep tonight or for the next couple of nights either.
He may see the sadness of what she is going through next morning, and apologize. On his knees, maybe. Until she nods a half smile. Probably a special romantic dinner or a surprise gift hoping that she will have magically forgotten the brutality of his actions the night before.
The wife is now thoroughly confused. She knows that he loves her. He knows it wasn't a mistake. She hopes it won't happen again, and he now knows he can buy her silence. 
He now has a wife who he can play out his rape fantasies.
The wife won't 'snitch' on their otherwise picture-perfect marriage.
To save her husband's integrity? To save herself from ridicule and shame?
She won't snitch not because she refuses to believe the man who she once adored is now her pimp and her unpaying client.

Because she thinks he owns her by virtue of being married.
The husband deserves to ravage her body because she promised herself to be loyal and understanding through sickness and health until death do they part.

Because she hopes that this will pass? 'This could be just a 'one-off' '
Sure! Every crime is just a 'one-off' to its victim.
Of all the crimes we have perpetuated, sexual abuse is one that is the most brutal, most cowardly and yet the most invisible.

But then why would a husband want to rape his wife?
She is married to him after all. Isn't she?
He is probably the only man she will ever be intimate to, so why he want to turn something that should remain so sacred and intimate to something that will forever traumatize her?
Could it be a mistake or an error in judgement on the husband's part? I wonder why we don't do equally good things in error too - like pledge to donate your eye, or write your wealth to the truly poor and needy.

But aren't we the culprits?
Our parents, their parents and their parent's parents have always perpetuated the idea of a husband's sexual dominance within a marriage. Girls are supposed to be docile and mute and willing givers of sex anytime he desires. In a case of art imitating real life, there were a lot of South Indian movies in the last Century which would invariably have a scene where the husbands rape their wives, and the wife would put up with it because she is the Bharati Naari.
But then this is not just India. Across Asia and Africa, centuries of gender discrimination has conditioned women to believe they are always a pedestal lower than men.

Why we haven't passed legislation to encourage victims to report and discourage husbands from this, is beyond me.
Sure, homosexual sex can land you in jail but if you are raped by your man, the law looks away.

March 8th. International Women's day.
When we celebrate women so eloquently, we forget the millions who silently endure unspeakable pain and untold guilt.

Thankfully, times are changing and our women are growing up. When I hear of wives who came out of abusive marriages, I do a fist bump and I hope we hear of more women who will learn to stand up against abuse. Everywhere.


Domestic Violence against Women

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When I was gone: Part 1/2 [March 2013]

The first half of March saw a torrent of 'Breaking News'. So much that I'm doing overtime just to get my head around this.
Here's Part 1 of what you missed.

As domestic airlines sold millions of cheap air tickets (with fine print), another MNC came under the scanner for alleged malpractices. Cadbury was found to be using an 'nonexistent factory' to avoid about $46 billion in taxes. While it has already been under investigation over its $19 billion takeover of Cadbury, this couldn't have come at a worse time. As India tries to rein in its yawning fiscal deficit and a last chance for the ruling party to fatten some of their own wallets, this may not be the last of such news.

Talking about news, Manmohan roared. Yes, you read that right! Delayed as it is, Manmohan 'the bonecrusher' Singh took a bite off the leader of the main opposition party, LK 'the lamb' Advani by pointing out how the Congress is still in power and the BJP is not. Well, seeing as how Modi is sharpening his pitchfork, Manmohan roared so late and too soon.

The world celebrated another Women's day and sticking with 'tradition', Indian men gang-raped women like it was going out of style. Handicapped or not, any vagina is fair game. So we raped women who were going through troubled marriages and touristy villages. There was some brouhaha and seeing how the cops rounded up the dicks who raped the Swiss tourist, I am positively certain the Swiss may have threatened to not return any of the money that our politicians have in their banks.
Women who were not raped where killed. Right in their mother's wombs. It was the same shame story of female infanticide and we are talking about just one Indian state. What happens in Maharashtra stays in Maharashtra.
India as a society is simply incapable of keeping its promise to end violence against women.
The problem is within our psyche. A few years ago, an email that did the rounds spoke about how emotionally strong Indian women are. While I won't deny our women are made of sterner and nobler stuff, I wonder why we are hell bent on 'taming' them.

Over the past couple of months, I can sense a collective pall of gloom, fear and loathe that has fallen over our women. Violence and abuse is not the stuff of raunchy Bollywood movies anymore. They are real, with every women. Every day.
The sheer magnitude of abuse will shame even the most holiest of us. If every victim were to register a complaint against every instance of abuse, I doubt if our justice system can wrap their heads around it. Our crocodile tears, our phony marches and empty promises must stop. Our customary banal celebrations of Womanhood and our wild accusations must cease. And we need to act soon because inspite of our best advertisements, our nascent tourism industry is about to die a premature death.
Official statistics from any Indian State is a mere fraction of what the real body count is. It is however a clear indication of how lawless our administration really is and how our country is littered with individuals with vested interests and contradictions.
As a signatory to the CEDAW - Convention of Elimination of All forms of violence Against Women, all the violence that has been allowed to happen in India, sounds like a cruel joke. So is when self-appointed guardians of the society decide to lend their weight towards the worthy cause of the guilty. 

Whilst the country was still haggling, one of the men who has been accused of raping Jyothi in the now infamous 'Delhi gang rape' was found hanging. My guess is that he decided to save all of us some drama (and show the way to the other five) by hanging himself. The country erupted. Most national newspapers spent reams of newsreel on him and autopsied his life in glorious public view. His former neighhours and villagers got their 15 minutes of fame and everyone forgot about the agony that Jyothi faced. While his lawyers said he was happy in jail, his family members helpfully pointed out that he was handicapped and hence incapable of hanging himself. Raping a defenseless girl? Yes. Hanging? No way! Ofcourse, we all know that his fellow prisoners could have raped him but then I doubt if he was unhappy about having the favor returned.

Korea's evil twin flexed its muscles, again. Fired a few missiles and got on the last nerve of Uncle Sam. My questions are:
1) Why do countries that say they have nothing to fear, still do things out of fear? Aren't they reaping what they sow?
2) How do countries like Korea and India have so much money to spend on arms and ammo that won't do jackshit in feeding their hungry millions? And how is it that their missiles 'fail' miserably when tested?

SRK was in the news again. In a convoluted show of misogyny, he declared that women in all his movies will have their names appear first. The problem is not the order of names in the credits of the film. Credits merely show the pecking order.
If he really wants to show respect to the women in his films, he will give her a meatier role in his movies. Ofcourse, directors like Srinivasan in the South have produced, directed and acted in movies where the female protagonist has a much more powerful role then the male. Does SRK have it within his over-inflated ego to make and act alongside a woman who has a better role than himself? I highly doubt if he would have been happy acting as Vidya Balan's onscreen husband in Kahaani.

Bitti, the Rapist, was found safe and secure working in a nationalized bank. After being on the lam for six years, an anonymous tip-off blew his cover. The story of how he raped, jumped bail, reinvented his life with a new identity, and landed a cushy job in God's Own Country will someday be the plot of a blockbuster Bollywood movie. Moral of the story- Well, there is none.

She may have never acted in a single movie yet, but that could not stop Poonam from celebrating her 22nd birthday by taking another well publicized bath, this time in the Ganges. Well, Americans have their Kim Kardhashian and we have our Poonam.

So talking about the much married Kardashian, she stayed in the news by expressing her indignation at accusations made by her former 'Made for TV' quickie-husband Kris Humphreys. For those who came in late, Kim and Kris were like two peas of the same pod. I am surprised they didn't have a love-child together. 

Worry not, for she has quickly and effectively corrected that mistake by having a baby with her current squeeze Kanye West. Touche`

India showed rare resilience and bravado when Italy announced it was not going to send its marines back to India to be tried. Dr MS bared his fangs and so did his puppet mistress Mrs G . Both of which surprised and humored us. Our courts followed with an encore and Pakistan might have felt good that we don't go through all this theatrics every-time they kill a few of our javans. The most India was known to do is cancel cricket matches. Call it the Italian Connection. Howwzat!
But don't let any of this make you believe that we are kind or caring towards any of our foreign guests

Congress washed its hands, both literally and otherwise, off its famous son-in-law and that was that. And the US of A saw another Bush rising

Our Catholic cousins got a new Pope. And online journal Cobra Post caught our banks with their gloved hands deep inside the cookie jar in what is arguably the most organized network of money laundering in the world. Our newspapers barely gave it any coverage. And as I write this post, RBI has already given the banks a clean chit.

So all in all, this was a really exciting month! Hurray!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

To catch a train [210/365]

Late last evening a young factory worker from Bangalore on her way back to her home 160 kms away was thrown out of the train she was traveling in.
The news made the headlines locally. National news channels barely covered her.

Critically wounded yet not physically disabled, Kavya must be regretting her crime. She was flung off the train by four men who tried to molest her.
She did the only sensible thing a lady would do- defended her modesty and fended off the molesters. Alone.
This enraged the men who decided she must be disembarked immediately. She landed on a rocky river bed 25 ft below.

Later, Kavya would recount how the men were brazenly asking for sexual favors in a crowded compartment and how no one came to her rescue.
Shocking as it seems, I am not surprised.

Indians are naturally curious. We love to eavesdrop on the neighbor's fight but when we see a girl being molested, we'd rather stand about 5 ft away, fold our arms and observe. Kavya shouldn't be traumatized by the fact that no one came to her rescue. We normally don't help women when they are being molested, harassed or raped. We'll instead take up candle light vigils after she has been murdered.
Kavya should on the other hand be grateful to herself. She had the presence of mind and the fortitude of character to fight. And she was lucky that she landed in a dry riverbed and not in the path of an oncoming train. I know of a few women who would rather give-in than fight against.

Her physical wounds will heal. The emotional and psychological wounds will remain for while.
Most of the culprits will be arrested. All of them will be out on bail in less than a day.

And Kavya, like most Indian women, will live another day in fear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A new low [200/365]

In the past week we saw the men of our nation reach a new low. A random group of men pounced upon a defenceless young girl who couldnt be older than 20, stripping and abusing her in a way that would resemble a pack of hyenas mauling a wildebeest calf.
In a video taken by a cameraman, the girl is seen begging, trying to reason with her attackers, pleading, and running for help to just about anyone she could spot. No one would help her instead we see passersby taking their shots too. After all its not everyday you get to grab the privates of a young girl and get away. The girl is screaming, shrieking in fear and probably wondering why none came to her help. About 30 minutes into the mauling, cops arrive at the scene after a good Samaritan calls to report the assault. Most of the champs have slipped into the crowd that gathered and the cameraman shoves a microphone into he face of the girl for the freshest sound bytes. After all he knew this video could be the money shot. He was right. His video went viral and so did half a dozen other videos that other 'cameramen' took. Some of them were even taking pictures of the 'event' to make sure they captured whatever remained of the girl's modesty for their private voyeur collection.

A couple of days after the incident the men who perpetrated this crime are yet to to caught by an administration that is beyond apathy. After a brief session of mutual finger pointing, and much needed publicity of the incident, I am left wondering what really is happening here.
I mean this is an open and shut case.

Here we have a girl who is probably still a teen who went with her friends to have a good time drinking and partying. It is reported that she had an altercation with a gentleman who was eventually asked to leave by the club security. He lies in wait for the girl to come out, passes a lewd comment which riles up the girl and she may have said something back to him. Infuriated, he starts attacking her with a frenzy. The man's pals pitch in and for good measure. Passersby get their fill too and by the time the now infamous video is taken we can see her top is almost ripped off. We see her scrambling for cover and help and the perpetrators muffling her screams and dragging her to the side to resume the groping and the mauling. 

Recently I watched Piranha and the way the men were taking shots at her, ripping her clothes and hitting her resembled the way the piranhas were feeding off their victims. It makes for excellent entertainment in such a movie but when I saw this happen to another human being, I was outraged, shocked and saddened.

Maybe the cameraman should have been more proactive in getting cops to the scene faster. Surely he did expose an incident that would have otherwise remained just a statistic and an event that's changed the life of the victim for ever. The role of the person is infinitely debatable. But would he have stood and done as little if it was his sister or wife being molested?

Maybe the girl was wrong and foolish in stepping out as late as she did without a male escort. Surely she is too young to be partying that late but she should have definitely used the proper judgement when she stepped out after an altercation. Men from the northeast are quite the boisterous handful.

Surely the general public that passed by and did nothing is as guilty of the crime as the ones who committed it. While we can say this is a sign of a bigger rot in society, this can also be explained as the syndrome where we tend to think that someone else will take care of this and we wont need to interfere. Or maybe they thought the mob was just -lynching a prostitute/witch, which apparently is quite common in that part of the world.

Whatever the reasoning, the cops showed their true colors when they refused to own up to the crime and instead reasoned otherwise.
But then this is the real rot in our country. We have cops and politicians who are unscrupulous and insensitive.

Shamefully, we are yet to arrest all the perpetrators despite their pictures being plastered across the country. And in the event that they do get caught, I doubt if any of them will have any remorse or if our courts will have the nerve to make an example out of them.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Her [67/365]

Finally! It's Women's day.
That time of the year when women are fooled into believing that they are the pillars of society.
And ofcourse, the pillars of society need to shop, dine and be pampered. Hence the discounts.

But putting aside the cynic in me, I think women have really done well in the past year or so. I've seen women climbing up the corporate ladder, in politics and everywhere in between.

So it came as no surprise when I read about the youngest female Billionaire in Forbes' annual list of Billionaires.
A typical American story of how one tenacious entrepreneur became a multi-billionaire in just a decade. The American Dream. But this wasn't just another company starting from a garage.

Sara Blakely, a fax machine saleswoman, invested her life savings of $5000 (approx Rs3,00,000) into creating a clothing line that had no seams and made its wearer more shapely. Spanx, the brand is today worth $1billion and growing, is to slimming undergarments what Kleenax is to tissues. 
Sara never spent a penny on advertisements, created and trademarked the company logo herself to save on the fees, marketed and took calls from customers from her home in Florida to cut costs. She's never borrowed any money and owns 100% of the company.
I was inspired just reading about her. (The Forbes article here)

But ofcourse this is something you won't find in an Indian newspaper.
Happy Women's day!

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