Yes I was raped too.
When I think of how innocently Asifa must have followed a monster disguised as a man into the forest. Was that the last time she smiled with those big and beautiful eyes that lit up her face?
When the horses she took out to graze returned without her. How they must’ve wished that they could speak of her whereabouts. How helpless they must have felt as the family panicked and the local police waited for 2 days before they filed a report.
When she would’ve had that first thought of realization as to what a grave blunder she made by trusting another human being. She must have resisted with all the strength a child has, trying her best to escape.
When she was drugged and held captive in a place of worship. She must’ve prayed to God then, asking for help, for mercy. Was that God a Muslim? Or was He a Hindu?
When an 8 year old was brutally tortured and gang raped by 8 men. As if she paid a barbaric price for every year she lived as a girl child. Repeatedly, time and again, again and again, for 4 days.
When she was mercilessly strangled, then stoned until she breathed her last. Her soul finally escaping her badgered body. As her life faded in front of her did she recall any happy moments of her preciously short life or was her last breath just a sigh of unimaginable relief?
When her mother, father and siblings must have found her lifeless fractured corpse, left abandoned somewhere in the bushes. Did her body weigh the same as when they must’ve hugged and loved her previously or did it feel like they carried a lifetime of unthinkable grief, so heavy that even the worst death penalty for her offenders would barely balm their pain?
When her family could not bury her in their graveyard and had to walk 7 miles to bury her in another village because illiterate religious and political bigots rule the day in a country where might is right. They are the true devils in disguise.
Yes, surely I was raped too…
Of my shocked senses as I read of what they did to her, of my respect as a woman, my grossly overlooked safety in my motherland, my blood curdling screaming gut and my continually attacked identity, they were all assaulted. My trust in humanity, in law and order, in fairness, in equality, in democracy — in the religious fanaticism and political agendas of my country — lie stripped naked.
Being a woman, I felt raped.
Only that I wasn’t.
And no words can condone or console her silenced voice.
Some harsh facts:
Each day, around 92 women get raped in India.
Every 30 minutes, a rape is reported in the country.
India fares among the top 10 countries with the highest rape statistics.
Yet, rape is barely scratching the surface of the problem. Underneath lie disturbing mindsets towards the girl child and women, including victim blaming, inequality among genders, domestic violence, chauvinistic attitudes, bigoted prejudices, political agendas, religious fanaticism and much more.
As the country reels with yet another hideous act of crime, humanity demands justice.