Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Voice of a Woman

Rape is not just an assault, an abuse and an insult of the skin and flesh, but it seeps way beyond and much deeper into the woman’s soul. This brutal act of “pleasure” shatters the woman’s confidence and tramples upon her identity and ego - a state that she must live with all her life, while the man can escape repenting all of this because he is ‘to be hanged unto death.’

I just finished reading the book Blasphemy, another one of Tehmina Durrani’s works. While in My Feudal Lord, she unveiled the reality of a Muslim politician’s wife’s life, in this book she has thrown open the personal life of a pir - an Islamic religious head. On the face, the man speaks of nobility, humility and the will of Allah, but behind close doors all his acts defeat the essence and purity of the versus in the Quran. Let alone exercising the ‘man superior to woman’ formula, but he indulges in pornography where the most easily accessible woman - his wife - is forced to commit the sins of sleeping with young adolescent boys for the sake of his mental satisfaction. When tired of this he turns towards younger girls, who haven’t even understood the true meaning of their existence, their body and their nature, and forces them to bleed to maturity over a period of few hours. It is in such cases when the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘love’ dawns upon you. Truly animalistic, the former ceases your thought process and you become the victim of your own body.

The worst of these acts is probably the rape of young girls. When a girl touches puberty, she senses a change. As the hormones of the body play havoc, her mind develops a distinct relationship with her body. Her personality begins to identify with her shape, her tenderness and her sensitivity. Well this doesn’t mean that a delicate profile implies an innocent woman, but the identification is on a very personal level. And this is exactly what I would term as ‘on the brink of womanhood.’ Discovering one’s womanhood is one of the most beautiful experiences of a girl - it must be handled gently, lovingly and carefully. And a rape at this stage in a girl’s life can be nothing worse than a living nightmare, one that ensures that her sleepless nights last a lifetime.

I sometimes wonder how the system of devdasi was encouraged. It is quite similar to the mention of the abuse of young girls by the pir in this book. Of course, while in our system it is considered a matter of pride when the girl is given up to the god (read his representatives), in case of the pir, the matter is extremely hushed and is probably in the knowledge of only the victim and perhaps her mother. One exploits so many creations of nature in the name of religion…that sometimes I tend to wonder if being an atheist is in itself a solution to this exploitation. On one hand man respects and fears the superpower, but at the same time defies the core of His very principles.

Man was always considered superior to the woman. But they are interdependent and so why can’t they be treated equally. Why do we fail to understand that one can’t be created without the other. If there were no women there would be no question of man or woman and if there were no men, then too there would be no question of man or woman. An interaction between the two on an equal level is necessary to create and procreate. Unfortunately the whole act has been converted into a power game - a game that weakens one of the creators… it is unfair, yet true. Women need to rise out of this illusion, more a threat and believe that they are equal…because unless we believe, we cannot take a stand and unless we take a stand there can be no consequence.


nidhi5 said...

though barely a poem, marge piercy's 'rape poem' is one which haunts you. give this a read,

Rape poem by Marge Piercy.

There is no difference between being raped
and being pushed down a flight of cement steps
except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
and being run over by a truck
except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
and being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
except that people ask if your skirt was short
and why you were out alone anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
and going head first through a windshield
except that afterward you are afraid
not of cars
but half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
all of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
without that aluminium in the mouth
when I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges,
the back seat of the car, the empty house
rattling keys like a snake’s warning.
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife.
The fear of the serious man
in whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist is seeing your body
as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
what you fear onto the soft alien flesh.
To bucket out invincible as a tank
armored with treads without senses
to possess and punish in one act,
to rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
live in the leafy flesh open to love.

Anonymous said...

it makes me shameful to be a man, a man is more than a wild beast.
women keeps him in her abdomen, feeds him, makes effords to make him grown up, when ever in pain , gives him comport but later he does ............. yes its true....... but this is woman who looks after him, she can eihter maseeh or evil, choice is her own.