After a long conversation with my parents about a horrifying incident I was left numb and shaken. My beloved friend (the only girl in her family, bereaved of her mother at a very young age) was drugged and raped by her brother (by clan) who was already married with three children. My parents freaked out and called to warn me never to trust a man, no matter how long I know him or even if he is a good friend. I have many guy friends who respect me and imagining them turning an eye on me is a morbid image. When incidents like this happen, I can‘t help but rage in anger and loathe men for being noxiously baneful. I don‘t blame my parents for having a narrow perspective and cautioning me to take care.
Born and brought-up without any male siblings, I look up to cousin brothers as my guardians. My father will speak on my behalf until the day I‘m cast-off to another man, my husband. I’m not supposed to take authority over a man. If I do, then I will become the talk of town and disgrace my father. If my father dies before I get married, my uncle or cousins will speak on my behalf. My widowed mother will have no authority concerning my well being, because I‘m my father‘s daughter, not my mother’s. The day she married was the day she got displaced into another man‘s environment – as if all the subjugation under her own father and brothers were not enough.
Then I came into being, but woe is me, for I was born a girl. And so as life continues – whenever I have to go out late, my father makes sure that either a (guy) friend or the neighbour‘s son accompanies me. But what happens when the ones who are supposed to watch over me advance their carnal desires. Where will I seek refuge?
It’s funny how every language has a word for females – “woman” – but most of the time we are either the “daughter”, “sister”, “wife”, “mother”, “aunt” or “grandmother“ of a MAN. This is a MAN-MADE-SOCIETY. Women have no country of their own. They live under the shadow of a man. We are considered the weaker vessels that need constant protection and care from dangerous men. A woman’s status is defined by the status of the man they are affiliated with. Without a man, a woman is vulnerable to all perils as they are eyed suspiciously and alluringly.
It seems like women have no choice but to submit to the demands of men who dominate our mind and body. Why do you think female infanticide, female circumcision, breast ironing and other horrendous practices are meted out to women in different parts of the world? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Women are always at the receiving end of the man’s brutality.
We are told to dress decently, behave appropriately, to never mislead or beguile men, to never be at a “wrong” place or time, to never be alone etc. We have a series of rules laid out which have to be followed. But the stark question that keeps ringing every now and then is, “does abiding all the rules and norms guarantee us safety?” If so, why do brothers rape their sisters, why do fathers and uncles abuse their daughters and nieces, why do grandfathers molest their granddaughters?
No offence to anybody, but I’m skeptical when the government takes measures like fixing CCTVs, lighting up dark corners, setting curfews and stationing women cops to safeguard women. They are good initiatives, but will these precautionary steps bring a change in men’s attitudes? Rapes, murder and abuse don’t only happen in dark streets. They also happen inside closed rooms, houses and hotels. Attitudes change when perceptions change!
Men and women are equal. Humans are socially constructed and biologically created. We need to uproot the seed of gender injustice by implanting right thoughts and behaviours. Women are not objects that can be possessed or owned. We are only different from men. Different but equal! Knowing is not enough. Knowledge comes with a responsibility. As Gloria Steinem pointed out, “We’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons . . . but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
As for my friend I wonder what fate will befall her. Poor girl had to pay a heavy price, not because she was naive or gullible, but because she was a beautiful, kind and loving woman whose trust was violated. Therefore, as much as I love and admire men, I also loathe them.
We have always loved and revered you for who you are; it’s high time you give us back the same treatment by respecting us for who we are. After all, this world is as much ours as it is yours.
A woman – who wants to enjoy and live life freely without the fear of being abused, abducted, raped or killed, no matter where she is.