Every day, in some place or the other, where the whole public can see, either immediately or in glorified forms of media the next day, there are atrocities committed against women, some so excruciatingly painful that people with hearts squirm upon just hearing about them while others are gruesome and depressing. These every day news items instil fear in all our hearts, making us feel like we’re not safe in our own homes.
If one were to look at Ms. One, he’d think she was one of those naturally beautiful women with not a care in the world, living her life as it came every day, bothered more about the intricacies of life more than just the false interiors. She looked happy and proud, her life seemingly positive. But if that person looked closer, he’d see the scars in her heart from the horrifying rape that ruined her life, two years ago. He’d see the sheen of tears in her eyes that threatened so dangerously to drop and to ruin the perfectly fake exterior she so carefully built for herself. He’d see the clothes she bought after much thought, wondering if they were the ones that caused such a brutal force to take out his frustrations on her poor body. But mostly, he’d see the fear that she carried in her soul, dreading every minute she spent trying to scrub the memory off her body, unknowing to the fact that it would always be a part of her. For no fault of hers. Just because of him.
Ms. Two is no longer alive. She was, once upon a time, back when she was a child, enjoying tremendously by basking in the love and care of her parents. But then, a few years later she got married, forcefully, to a man she neither liked nor bothered about. Eventually she thought she’d grow accustomed to his presence in her life and on her body. But it never happened. The years went by as she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy much to the happiness of her husband. For a while, everything was alright and just when she was beginning to think it was not wrong to live with a man she could never love, she felt her first slap across her cheek. It was the day she had forgotten to pack his lunch. It scarred her, emotionally more than physically though the bruise didn’t go away for a week. The monthly beating turned weekly when eventually it became a regular event. It always happened in front of her son which upset her even more because she was worried it would affect him. Even that was something she learnt to get used to. But one fine day, hours after her son told her to go into ‘her’ kitchen else he’d ‘kick’ her, she hanged herself. For no mistake of hers. All because of him.
The mother of Ms. Three, the girl whose life was never her own, sat weeping at the graveyard the previous day. She went back home and then wept the entire night for the daughter she’d never have. She remembered how happy her husband had been when she first told him news of her being pregnant. “Our son is going to be very loved!” he said, instilling a fear in her heart. What if it wasn’t a son, she wondered. And most unfortunately, her fears came true. Because in her arms, nine months later, was the most adorable baby girl she’d ever seen. But it was a connection that was never meant to be. Her husband grew livid at the sight of her and before she knew it, the child was brutally murdered in his hands. They said it was malnutrition, that the baby was never meant to live. They said it was better off for the baby if it were this way. ‘They’ comprised of the selfish, male dominated world of which she was nothing but a speck of dust. Today, years later, she sat weeping for the baby she could never have. Her husband, the man she’d carefully plotted to hate all these years, stumbled in after another night of heavy drinking. In her mind, three words. Because of him.
The whip is solid against Mr. Four’s soft flesh. It creates a red mark, a wound in her almost perfect body that is now filled with scars. She crouches in a corner, waiting for yet another beating in this routine of hers. But it doesn’t come. She looks up to see that he’s now walking away and is relieved. That night, she sits hungrily, waiting for him to come home because her damned custom won’t allow her to eat before he does. During the late hours of the night, she receives the call. He’s been in an accident. He’s dead. She can’t help the tears. Are they tears of joy, she wonders as her heart feels lighter. But little does she know, the worst is yet to come. Eventually, as weeks pass and she walks out into her society in coloured clothes, people throw things at her, shouting profanities. In the beginning, she doesn’t know why. But then, she understands. Now that he’s gone, she’s supposed to be dressed in white. She’s not allowed trinkets. She’s supposed to continue in the suffering that she felt when he was alive, even after he’s gone. In a moment of rage, she grits her teeth. Back at home, she shatters the only framed photograph of him. “This is your fault!” She shouts. “Entirely because of you!”
It’s depressing to see that while most of the world is holding its head up high, here we are, in this country of ours that is ‘backward’ in its treatment of its women but ‘forward’ in all the things that people think ‘matter’. Doesn’t it make you want to ask why you don’t really mean enough? Why women need to forever lower their heads to such an extent that they forget the colour of the sky? Why must it be because of him and not because you want it to be?
Before it’s too late.
Alas, maybe it already is…