Rape : Blame the Rapist not the Victim


Center for Development of Women’s Studies (CDWS)  disturbing statistics  say 42 women are raped every day in India, one every 35 minutes.

Only one in about 70 cases of rape gets reported. This means that about 69 women get raped before one lodges an official complaint. Of the reported cases (only one out of 70), only 20 per cent are convicted. Consequently, only three out of 1,000 rapists ever get convicted. So most rapists can get away with rape.

From 9 to 90 every woman is unsafe here.

Age, status, caste ,creed, looks NO BAR, a woman is raped for just one reason : Being a woman. Nothing else.

When my maid came up with the news that a 90+ woman who had gone to a nearby “jungle” close to where she stays for morning job , she was raped by four men. The men ran away leaving the traumatized victim in a state of shock. The incident which happened very close to the local police station was pushed under the carpet. No complaint was launched. Case closed.

The maid , who was still under shock kept wondering  WHY an old woman for God’s sake ? and then came the reply from with . Because she was a woman.

She said in hushed voice, ” it does not matter if you are old or young , beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, what matters is you are a woman. what they(men) need is a hole and two boobs.”

I was more shocked than her. Shocked at the truth she was speaking. The words burned into my soul like embers.

That was the truth, complete and honest.

This is the reality which glares at us from every part of the country be it villages, cities anywhere.

Little girls , young women, old women no one is safe in this country.

In most of the cases the rapists are known people.

A father, a brother, an uncle , a friend. Who are we supposed to trust?

Rape doe not happen like they show in films, it comes from unexpected sources, hits hard and stuns the victim.

I remember Gulzar Saheb’s poem Rape’s few lines here :

” sirf aurat thi wo, kamzor thi wo,

char mardon ne, ki wo mard the bas

pasedeewar use rape kiya

translation

Just a woman, weak, vulnarable

four men, only because they were men

pinned her against the wall and raped her.

Unfortunately  most of the times women are blamed for the rape and sexual abuse cases. I have heard even other woman saying ,” aaise ban than ke nikalegi to mardon ki nazar to kharab hogi hi ” ( if she goes out all decked up like this men will get tempted)

“kapde to dekho iske , phir hum aadmiyon ko dosh dete hain ( look at her clothes and then we blame men”)

“aaj kal auraten hi zyada khul khel karti hain , niyota denge to rape to honge hee( these days women have become so outgoing, if they invite, rape will happen”)

I ask those  who blame the woman for “indecent behavior” such as wearing skimpy clothes, going out late at night ot ” inviting” men, are women in burkhas and salwar-kameez not eve-teased, raped or molested?

Don’t rape cases occurs in broad daylight.

What about the little girls who are raped by their own family members, relatives or friends?Child sexual abuse and incest is growing in large proportions. Here is a poem I wrote about it  The Lost Childhood

Do they even know what’s happening to them leave aside” inviting”. what about the old woman who could never dream that she too can fall prey to these lecherous men?

What about women who are raped in police custody by the very people who are supposed to protect her?

What about  Aruna Shanbaug who was attacked with a dog chain and brutally raped in the very hospital where she was a nurse, and abandoned by her family thereafter.The rapist was convicted for seven years in jail, and is believed to have started a new life in another hospital in New Delhi.  She lies in a state of coma in a room of the same hospital for the last 37 years. What was her fault ?

How did a nine year old ” provoke ” a man to rape her in Goa ? Link

Why there is always a “moral code of conduct” for women? Why women are blamed for a crime where they are the victims?Why can’t they live the way they want to without the fear of sexual abuse, molestation, rape hanging over them?

Why the rapists do not get punished severely, Why the cases are not registered and those which are , never get justice?

Why there is this widespread misconception that women are sexually available and that some men simply cannot help themselves?

What about rape within marriage ? Who is responsible for this intimate betrayal? A crime which is  not even considered a crime?

I wrote a post on this sometime back  marital rape

A few days back I got a twitpic from a friend originally posted on Jagori.org

Came across this Jagori.org poster (Credits: London Rape Crisis Centre) entitled “बलात्कार से बचाव के लिए मार्गदर्शन” translates to “Guidelines for prevention from Rape” #women

This fried wanted me to do the translation for this. This what he posted LINK

This what I translated

Do not step out in the darkness
it is an invitation to men
do not step out alone anytime
in any case it is an invitation to men
do not stay inside the home
for both relatives and guest can rape
do not stay without clothes
it evokes (boosts)desire in men
do not wear clothes
because these types of clothes
it is an invitation to men
beware of childhood
coz some rapists prefer little girls
beware of old age
some rapists prefer old women
do not have father, uncle, grand father, brother-in-law and brothers
these are the relatives who usually rape the young women of the house
do not have neighbors
they usually rape
do not get married
rape within marriage is permissible
but , if you need full protection
do not live.

The poster tells a story by itself. I wonder how many men will feel ashamed reading this!

we also found an original translation

For how long women will live in fear, suffering at the hands of men is something to think about.

In a country rooted in age-old beliefs, conventions and rules set by men for their benefits and convenience, a woman has little say. She is either a ” virgin wife” or a “slut” there is no in betweens. Any woman who stands up to raise her voice against the unjust society, who breaks free of the “usual social norms” is crushed brutally.

Rape victims live a life of humiliation, are denyed justice most of the time. They are conditioned to believe that they are the cause of their misery and the best thing to do is remain silent.Who wants to be humiliated twice in a society where law makers to law breakers all men speak one language: A woman who “asks for it” ” gets it”.

Is a woman safe from the time she is born till the time she dies? At every step she faces challenges which threaten her very existence.  All her life a woman’s conduct is put under scanner. Her every word is daubted. She has to prove her innocence, her purity at all levels.  Lines are drawn for them but never for the men. She is not “allowed” to step out of the ” laxman rekha” ( her line of conduct) and has to give ” agni pareeksha” (proof) for the things she is not responsible.

WHY?

Why

why the blame is always shifted to women? Even when she is raped, assaulted, burnt, termed a witch it is her fault. Men are never wrong. How inhumanly unfair is that?

I remember reading in ‘A thousand splendid suns’, “A man’s pointing finger will always find a women to blame” .

The moment a rape occurs people raise fingers at the ” loose character” of the girl/woman. If some men get “provoked” enough to rape by mere sight of a woman and can not control themselves  and are compelled to commit the crime then the only sentence should be castration.

Came across this blog which is a must read Rape Culture

Isn’t it time we stopped these double standards in the code of conduct for women and men? It is unfortunate that women from one generation to the other pass on the legacy of these utterly rubbish ideas of a woman being responsible for any sexual advancement towards her. It is time to set an example by making strict laws and enforcing them with even more strictness. It is time to give complete support, counselling, justice  to rape victims and not judge them and humiliate them further.

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Deliverance: A Poem


The little boy stands alone

On the banks of the Ganges

His head shaved clean

Like the white sky above

Moist eyes filled with anticipation

Look around at trees and parapets

Three mounds of rice lie on a leaf

Waiting for a crow’s touch

for deliverance of his father’s soul

Note: (One of the most important religious rituals after cremation in Hindus is, to do “Pind Dan” (offerings to the crow to help the soul attain salvation after cremation of the body. The crow is considered auspicious. The ritual is performed by the son.)

Flavours and Colors of Weekly Bazaar


The weekly market is such a wonderful way to see and feel the local flavors. My maid dresses up in bright clothes, lipstick and a nice bindi to go for this monday market, their local mall. She saves money for this special day to buy bangles or any other stuff she needs for herself. This is where she buys her daily ration, clothes and veggies and also spends time with her hubby eating lip smacking chola bhatura and orange color hot jalebies over sweet nothings.

The market which is held every monday is a riot of colors from  farm fresh vegetables, clothes, jewellery, shoes, spices, utensils, plastic things and much more. One can see the mingling of rich and poor here. I often go there to bring the weekly supply of vegetables and sometimes some household stuff too. One can bargain and most of the time the stuff is alright.

The best thing is to observe the local lower-income group people all dressed in their Monday best  having a gala time. Kids , women, men all enjoying the evening bazaar. They meet friends, shop, eat and take home a lot of happiness after working hard each day.

Every time I go there I feel like capturing the beauty of the place, today although the local cops were on the move to collect their weekly “Vasuli” and not much of the crow was there I managed to click some pix.

The aromas, the typical shouts to attract the customers, the nok- jhonk of the vendors, the bargains that go on endlessly, the happy faces of the kids and all the good stuff at cheap rates at one place , that’s our Monday Bazaar. Can’t say anything about quality of pickles and ground spices but most of the other stuff is alright.  I often buy clothes for giving to the maids and other workers from here or simply give them money to buy things of their choice.

The best place for fresh veggies and fruits.

I think it is a great idea for local vendors and very convenient for us too.

National Girl Child Day Post: A daughter that never was and A Poem


I dedicate this post to all the daughters and their mothers across the globe. Let me begin by posting one of the most beautiful poems I have read about a mother daughter relationship. you can read the entire poem on kavita kosh site Mera Naya Bachpan by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan.

I always wanted a daughter and after my first child even thought of adopting one to complete the family but unfortunately the family did not agree and just my luck that I had another son after four years.

The radiologists at that time saw my desperation for a girl child and smilingly said, ” maybe it’s a girl, so smile young lady”.

Delighted I bought  little pretty dresses for the baby which was due anytime. When I found that I had a boy agai.n, I wept but then the cherub was such a delight that I gave all my love to him. I had to dress the little one in frocks and other girly clothes for sometime, to the dislike of my MIL but I fulfilled my little desire.

My little boy in a lehnga I wore at the age of one year

shubhang not even one in a pretty blue frock

I decided that day to do as much as I could for any poor girl who needed any help in any field especially education. I regularly help the girls in the neighborhood, the maid’s daughters and give out books, clothes and other things to the needy girls encouraging them to study and make their mark in the society on their own.

My cook’s all three daughters have completed their graduation  done courses in computers etc and are now working at good posts in reputed companies even MNCs. what a proud moment for a mother who is now nearing 60 and all her life worked in other people’s houses to raise , educate  and make her girls independent. all the three girls save money for their future and never give in to age-old customs and pressures of society. Kudos to one such brave mother and all her daughters.

Here are some lines from the poem I want to share with a translation by me . I can not match the beauty of the original but making an effort ot send the message to all my non hindi speaking friends..

मैं बचपन को बुला रही थी बोल उठी बिटिया मेरी।
नंदन वन-सी फूल उठी यह छोटी-सी कुटिया मेरी॥

‘माँ ओ’ कहकर बुला रही थी मिट्टी खाकर आयी थी।
कुछ मुँह में कुछ लिये हाथ में मुझे खिलाने लायी थी॥

पुलक रहे थे अंग, दृगों में कौतुहल था छलक रहा।
मुँह पर थी आह्लाद-लालिमा विजय-गर्व था झलक रहा॥

मैंने पूछा ‘यह क्या लायी?’ बोल उठी वह ‘माँ, काओ’।
हुआ प्रफुल्लित हृदय खुशी से मैंने कहा – ‘तुम्हीं खाओ’॥

पाया मैंने बचपन फिर से बचपन बेटी बन आया।
उसकी मंजुल मूर्ति देखकर मुझ में नवजीवन आया॥

My translation of these lines.

I was remembering my childhood

when my little daughter spoke

blossoming  my  little home

like a beautiful fragrant forest

” ma come” she called out to me in baby voice

she had eaten mud

her little mouth  filled with some and

some more she held in her little hands for me to eat

her  body radiating with joy and

every part of hers filled with wonder

her face beaming with ecstacy and the glow of victory

I asked ” what have you got?” ” mama eat” she replied

with a heart brimming with mirth, I said ” you eat”

I found my childhood again,

it returned in my daughter’s form

my life  rejuvenated

watching  her delightful charm

***

Give your daughters a healthy, secure, safe, educated, and respectable future. Let them blossom and fill your world with joy and pride.

Stop female infanticide, child marriages and crime against women. They have their own identity stronger than just being daughters, sisters, wives, mothers etc. Give them winds to fly and discover their own horizons.

Fare thee well : A Poem


Like a phoenix I rise

from the ashes of my dreams

my healing tears silently fall

taking away the pain and hurt

a calmness seeps inside me

like the first summer shower,

I am cleansed and refreshed.

The memories of the lost love

linger in my heart

like a soulful melody

I forgive myself and you

for the mistakes we made

I free us completely

from the unseen chains that

strangled us

It is a new beginning

for a new me

and for you my love

to win some other heart

55 Words : The Twist


Her mobile rang  in the darkness of the cinema hall

The man with her was a lecher.

“What?”

“New party, big money, wants the best”.

“Waiting out side, black Mercedes”.

“On my way.”

Touching up her makeup, she walked to the car and knocked on the tinted window.

Her father’s face made her go weak in the knees.

Cleaning The Closet : A Memoir


Yesterday was one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right. I needed a break but had no option but to sit at home. I scanned the empty room and decided to do the thing we always thought was a punishment as kids. Cleaning Out The Closet.

The moment I opened it something fell and whacked me on my head .I cursed under my breath. It was a GI Joe, its legs tied with a string and a battle cat tagging along with it which my little one must have hidden from his elder sibling.

knew it was going to be a time-consuming and overwhelming task but I had all the time in the world.

Two years back I was gifted a book by Louise Hay and it changed my perception of the clean up act that I had detested for so long. She says, “Cluttered closets mean a cluttered mind. As you clean the closet, say to yourself, ‘I am cleaning the closets of my mind.’ The universe loves symbolic gestures.”

It made a huge impact on me and now every time I feel out of control of my life or feel that everything is getting on top of me, I go clean out a closet. It is like decluttering our minds and our lives.

Slowly my bed was covered with piles of clothes, letters, boxes, trinkets I never knew existed. A soft bundle with a tag baby clothes’ and some paperbacks tied up with a red string lay behind the clothes. I looked closely “Albatross book of living verse” the top book said .I smiled. It was a gift from my mother. This book had been given to her by my grandfather when she was young girl.

Sometimes we find skeletons in our closets, things we never wanted the world to see. Buried in the deepest, darkest side of the closet, forgotten even by the owner, lie memories of yesteryear. Lurking in one corner of the shelf was an envelope tagged pix. I was not sure what secret it held for the writing was not mine. I decided to place it along with other to be checked’ stuff.

The closet was practically empty and I decided to replace the paper on the shelves too, under the last shelf were two thousand rupee notes crisp and new. I was ecstatic as if I had won a lottery. The shadow of loneliness was already replaced by the ray of hope. I grinned and tucked away the treasure in my pocket.

I made myself a hot cup of fresh coffee and settled down to rummage through memory lane.

First was the baby clothes bundle. I opened it and found little clothes. My dresses when I was one year old. I found my traditional lehnga (a long skirt) and a short blouse with it. There was also a lemon yellow sweater which had my initials on it. I fondly held the clove smelling clothes  and imagined how I must have looked wearing them.

Something was shinning under the second layer of cloth and I discovered my elder son’s first birthday dress, another traditional Indian attire, dhoti and kurta with violet colored tiny brocade jacket, with zari work on it. It looked lovely as the sun rays fell on its shimmering silvery threads. We had brought it especially for the occasion. I remembered how he had posed for the photographs, his dimpled cheeks flushed with joy.

Carefully I wrapped the memories back and tied the knot.

The kashmiri walnut box held some dried flowers and notes along with a few silver ear rings and old B&W pictures of my childhood. There were some letters which still had the fragrance of the love that I had shared and treasured even after it faded away from my life. I looked out of the window at the swaying laburnum tree and closed my eyes. A silent tear fell on the pink envelope. I tucked the things back in the box, tearing off the unwanted papers, some old bills, letters and statements of bank.

I undid the string to keep the poetry  book aside, deciding to read it later in the day. A book mark fell on the ground. A work of art by my little one. I placed the smiling faces and rainbow back in the book.

Now was the turn to discard the heaps and heaps of unwanted clothes. I had already planned to give them away to some NGO. Pants, dresses, coats, sweaters and skirts all went into a big bag.

As the French say,

“What you keep rots; what you give flourishes.”

In the process a lovely black dress emerged .Something I used to wear when I was thin as a twig. I laughed as I held it against me. It also had matching undergarments which seemed as if they were made especially for a designer Barbie doll. Laces and net and size zero.

A bag revealed assorted colorful socks and belts which for some reason I had not discarded for years. One throw and basket .They all went into the trash bag. I instantly felt better .It is amazing how a little act of cleaning up can change the way you look at life.
Neatly I arranged all the clothes, shoes, purses and bags back into the gleaming white clean closet and felt proud of my efforts. Once everything was set inside my eyes fell on the envelope tagged pix’.

Something was not nice about the thick brown paper envelope and I opened it with curious hands. Twenty four snaps of my hubby with his girlfriend stared back at me. I made a collage on the bed and stared at the colorful smiling faces without blinking my eyelids.

For a moment my legs went weak and I held the chair next to me. Then slowly, I collected myself and placed all the snaps into the envelope. Some things are better buried deep inside the dark realms of the closet. I tucked it at the deepest deep of the top shelf. I gathered the torn letters and placed them in a plastic bag, it was time to bury the past and move on.

I felt happy to see a neat and less crowded closet with more empty spaces just like in my heart and mind.