Being a woman is not easy in today’s world. Every day millions of women are raped around the world and most of them go unreported and thus hardly does any come in front of the public eye. Parents fear for their daughters and the only way they think they can keep them safe is through restrictions of timing, clothing and borders. We, women, though fight for freedom from these restrictions are still aware of the reasons and fear for ourselves just the same. Nobody is to be trusted, do not look at strangers, in-fact do not be over friendly with anyone- neighbors and relatives are too not to be trusted because 3 on 5 sexual abuse are done by people we trust.
This article talks about the two cases: Junko Furuta (1972-88, Japan) and Nirbhaya (2012, India). Both cases are decades and borders apart yet I chose them because the cases aren’t just rape cases rather they seem as if the men were punishing them for being women and affirming their power over them as men. These two cases are among the ones which makes us shudder at the very thought of the cruelty these women faced. I would request you all to read these two cases to understand what I am saying. The 5 of 6 men in Junko Furuta’s case were released after a few years of punishment with one getting 21 years of jail term and 1 of the 6 Nirbhaya case criminals (the 17 year old- the most brutal) was just given 3 years punishment because he was a juvenile. The crimes sparked international outrage and people came on the street for justice. What is confusing is why? The criminals in these two cases did not know the women and both were not just rape cases. Junko’s body was damaged in a way that she could not drink water or urinate. It seems like the criminals were experimenting as to how much she could take before she died. She was raped 400 times and every possible thing was inserted in her body: from candles to burning fireworks. Dumbbells were thrown on her stomach and they jumped on her body. She was fed cockroaches and made to drink her urine. All this is just a two line summary of the hell she went through during the 44 days she was alive. It is said that many people visited the house in which Junko was kept and many might even have known about the girl but no action was taken. The boy’s parents, in whose house Junko was kept, did not care who the girl was and why she was there. Nobody thought of enquiring about the girl who was dying in that house.
The Nirbhaya case criminals inserted an iron rod in her body and doctor’s said that her intestines came out of her body with the rod and she was left with only 5% inside her body. She and her friend were beaten and thrown naked on the street and then the bus driver allegedly tried to drive the bus over the woman. What is even more horrifying is that nobody stopped by to help the two, but just stared and laughed. Even the behavior of the police and hospital authorities was dismal. The men could not have been human but real monsters and progeny of Satan because even animals would cringe do be so ruthless. If you look at the criminals you wouldn’t find anything different between them or a common man. This is the most frightening aspect. Can we trust anyone? Every day when we travel for work, board the bus or metro we are looking out for ourselves. We keep our phone on speed dial, have an umbrella in hand, cover our face with a dupatta, wear dresses that will blend us with the crowd (as if it helps) yet there are hands which still creep you out. Parents keep calling you to know that you are safe. The evening sky is a nightmare and every strange man a possible rapist. Any slowing car or bike behind or next to you makes you walk faster and pray to your god for safety. Women live a life of dread where every unknown movement is worse that a knife on their neck. I am sorry, but I wish I were a man because this life is not just a struggle to achieve success but to survive every day without being raped. I would I end this article with a few lines of the poem “Rape Poem” by Marge Piercy:
“Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
All of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
Without that aluminum in the mouth
When I see a man climbing toward me.
Never to open the door to a knock
Without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of the hedges,
The back seat of the car, the empty house
Rattling keys like a snake’s warning
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife”
———— About the Author: This article is contributed by our intern, Utpala. Utpala finished her English Honours and is doing her Masters in English from Delhi University. She writes because she believes that written words never die and pen is mightier than sword. She has joined hands with Respect Women to speak out the thoughts she has during the vacuum hours of her days.