I jolted when my hand touched the hot cup of Chai. With thoughts
looming over, I headed to the dining table where my husband and in-
laws were discussing news and politics. As I craned my neck to see
the clock, I realized it was time for me to head over for work.
Although it was a fresh Sunday morning, I felt the need to get out of
the house with questions and rage boiling from within. My fingers
traced the Mangal sutra on my neck and then the dark red Sindoor. I
was feeling on edge. While I drove mindlessly, I looked down,
scanning my things through the leggings like an X-ray, as I spot huge
purple bruises. My wrist had stories, just like my back. Behind those
cemented walls, my consent screamed and shrieked yet, fell on deaf
ears. It still bothered me. The word was on the tip of my tongue, but it
felt like a crime to say it out loud. It was a crime committed by him.
With dark circles under my eyes and cuts on lips hid with dark
lipstick, I started weeping inside my car in the middle of nowhere.
It was that very next night after we got married. I saw him shirtless,
staring at me like a lustful creep. Suddenly, he grabbed my waist and
started getting intimate. My heart accelerated as I felt scared. I tried to
pry myself away from him, but he thought it to be playful and leaped
on me like a beast. He pushed me against the wall, and his hands
roamed and discovered every inch of me. I had sensed his want, but
refuse to fulfil his desire. When I was finally able to say no despite
the lumped which had formed in my throat, he thought I was feisty
and kept on going roughly. I kept saying no like I was chanting. I
broke that night. Bleeding and aching. The next day he asked me to
keep quiet and said it’s something between a husband and a wife. My
self-esteem and trust crushed with no dignity. I tried to scrub his
touch, my own husband’s scent off my skin, but I was too damaged
and confused. This made my soul burn in the fire. I was raped every
passing night but remained silent out of fright.
Rape culture has prevailed in our society for a long time, where we
are told to keep quiet against the sexual assault that we have
experienced because “log Kya kahenge?”. We live in a rigidly
patriarchal society where men after doing such a disastrous deed walk
out of the room with pride and chest wide.
The term sexual assault is so normalized that sometimes people fail to
perceive the intensity of the situation. Nobody is developed to carry
out the demonstration of assault, it’s the way of life and the general
public that some time impacts the mentality of the attacker and
provokes him to commit this crime. Often the victim is blamed for the
action and no one says that the rapist is wrong.
As in the bond of marriage, the spouse feels that he has a claim over
his better half, and he can do whatever he wants. They think women
after the marriage give never-ending, continuous sexual consent to
their spouse. Wives become personal property to their husbands and
loose right over their own body. Marriage and family are considered
building blocks of our country. Right from the start, men are told that
they are entitled to sex. A wife not satisfying her husband is
considered to break trust and confidence within marriage. Men can
expect sex after marriage, cannot enforce it.
But it’s high time this mentality should change.
Also, there are situations wherein the ‘non-consent’ of the casualty is
taken as a ‘yes’ but general population neglect to perceive that
imagine a scenario where she was not able to speak up, or she was
afraid or she dreaded speaking up to just ensure that she is safe and
protected. Anything without consent is RAPE, be it in the bond of
marriage or relationship. NO in itself is a statement.
But how long are we going to accuse the jurisdiction and laws? There
are a large number of cases as yet pending and no one is making a
move on them. We as a culture and as a society have contributed to
the raise of assault culture and it is our role to minimize this very
thinking of the society. No one is born as a rapist, it’s the values and
mentality one is grown up into that affects the individual.