Rape. It’s every woman’s nightmare. It’s been on my mind in an on-off way for the past few weeks. How unfair it is to the victims, I thought, that the burden of proof lies on them. Why must they suffer society’s disdain and disbelief for a violent act against them?
Today, I read this Washington Post piece by Barbara Bowman and immediately thought of another victim in India. Bowman got on with her life, she’s an American living in a culture where females are regarded as equals. But Suzette Jordan is a white Indian living in a male-dominated society. Like Bowman, she refused to hide her identity in a bid to get justice. And she is paying the price for it.
This troubles me, how we view women whose lives have been damaged unwillfully. So much so that I wrote the lines below:
Thus have I been stabbed thrice.
Demons rising from hell
Casting doubts on a tale I have to tell
Of a bestial beast
Gorging on a feast
And barbarians summoned to fry
His victims with their lies.
So here I stand:
No one to hold my hand:
In a land where justice forgives
Say what you like, only believe:
Though I be weak and frail –
I have grasped the devil’s tail.
Perhaps our refusal to accept a woman’s testimony at face value is no less violent a crime than rape. Why? Because. It is not only the act itself but also the never-ending prejudice that they endure that renders their lives so much more unbearable on a day to day basis.