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Rapist Godman's Comeuppance Brings Back Harrowing Memories Of Child Abuse [Edited]

05/06/2017 4:04 PM IST | Updated 05/06/2017 4:04 PM IST
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'If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?' — Shylock in William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

That was exactly what the 23 year old law student in Kerala did, when she bobbitised a swami, her alleged rapist, after years of silently enduring sexual abuse. He has been charged with rape and other sexual offences under POCSO Act, 2012, since the girl was a minor at the time he had started abusing her.The self-styled godman had been frequenting the girl's house on the pretext of curing her paralyzed father. Though the victim was initially charged on sections of self-defense, the police later dropped it, compelled by pressure from various women's groups in the state. Many lauded the girl's courage, while many others expressed concern at her having taken the law into her own hands. And many more rejoiced upon hearing the news as was apparent by the countless humorous memes of the bobbitised swami that circulated in social media.

To all those who are of the opinion that instead of reacting in such a violent manner, she should have taken a gentler route, I want to recall a few memories for you.

To all those who are of the opinion that instead of reacting in such a violent manner, she should have taken a gentler route, such as approaching the cops; to all those who may be questioning her as to why she did not take any action against the accused when it had all started. I want to recall a few memories for you. Memories that will resonate with many girls and women in general; memories that we have neatly wrapped and tucked inside inaccessible corners of our hearts. But each time we hear stories like these, our repressed memories have a way of unwrapping themselves and emerging into consciousness; spilling out chilling images and unforgettable faces.

For me, the first of those wretched memories was when I was three. I was going somewhere with my dad. It was a particularly crowded bus. Poor fellow did the best he could, which any desperate parent, holding a little child in his arms in a crowded bus would do. He pushed me into the space between two seats to protect me from the maddening crowd, before disappearing into the hustle and bustle. Two men were seated in front of me. In a little while, I felt a creepy feeling as though some big insect was crawling up my skirt. They were fingers crawling up my skin; travelling northwards. Wincing in pain, distraught and confused, I looked at them, while they sat glancing at my blood-drained little face, smirking at each other. That must have been the longest bus ride I have ever undertaken in my life!

In a little while, I felt a creepy feeling as though some big insect was crawling up my skirt. They were fingers crawling up my skin; travelling northwards.

And there was that rainy morning and the man at the bus stop. I was waiting for my school bus along with my friends. A man came by and stood near us. I won't forget the horror we felt when the man suddenly unzipped his pants and asked us to touch 'it.' He would continue doing it for many weeks.

Oh, and how can I forget my music teacher. He would often tell everyone, especially my parents, that I was "like a daughter" to him. I must have been 9 or 10 years old when he started writing me 'romantic' songs with lyrics like "I love you" and "I want to kiss your lips" and "we were meant to be together forever." I remember him calling up my parents now and then, lecturing them about my willful and rude behavior towards him. I also remember his not so 'fatherly touch' and the terror I felt, when one day he suddenly pounced upon me from behind a door and forcibly fondled and kissed me, asking me why I didn't "love" him.

How can I forget my music teacher. He would often tell everyone, especially my parents, that I was "like a daughter" to him.

Many of us have silently suffered, spending half of our childhoods and adolescence in fear. Little girls, terrorised by that 'five inch weapon' which some call 'manhood,' sticking towards us in buses, parks, neighborhoods, at schools and even at homes. Have you experienced such a childhood?

I agree. No one can discount the violence and rage involved in the incident. It may have been an act of sheer desperation on the part of the victim. But from the victim's standpoint, she must have felt that there was no way out, and therefore, she herself became the judge, jury and executioner. And thus, for all those hapless children and women who have been victimised in similar or different forms; those who didn't dare to react, out of fear or shame; she has become a 'hero' and 'avenger.' More than anything, this comes as a bloody reminder to all of us, that our children are not safe, even at home.

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