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I was once working with an NGO, which made me travel to some under-privileged villages. That NGO associated itself with helping the children living in such areas. On one of my visits did I meet a fascinating woman (whose identity I promised not to disclose) who lived alone with a son who was about 8. Something about her persona told me that she had something for me, something that would change my life. And only later I saw her take a lecture, which was in itself a privilege to listen to. Upon my badgering for days at an end, she relented and told me her story, which had brought her to this small town as a teacher.

I vowed; he vowed: we vowed to be with each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. I was always there. I kept my promise. Why didn’t he?

One of the best part of this country, the one I like the best, is that it professes a lot of things. It has morals, values and respect for women. You know, they represent all the goddesses of our culture! They are worshipped, they are worshipped every day on the bed by their husbands when everybody is asleep!

Slapped. Choked. Hit. Silenced. Robbed. Harassed.

These goddesses, they are kind, gullible, naive, and forgiving. The husbands are sometimes brutal in their worship. They are powerful!

We have modernised. We have come a long way. We have made MEN!  We have made them capable enough to rape, to rape their wives, the ones they were supposed to be life partners with. Isn’t it an accomplishment? I am proud of the pinnacle that we have reached together. This couldn’t have been done without the help of our ministers, cabinets and the person ruling them all. I would like to congratulate them personally because we would not have reached this state without their major contribution that is ‘doing nothing’!

Nothing! Nothing for the victims who were raped by their husbands, who were brought up to bring light to somebody else’s house, given with love and hopes for their future with their life partners, not rapists.

Sometimes I feel why don’t we add “I consent to getting raped, whenever you feel like it, my lusty master!” as the 8th vow of the marriages? And yes, here I refer to the team of ministers in the current government which says that concluding marital rape as a crime in sexual assault act will be a mistake as it will bring about an unnecessary break-up of marriages. Marriage is a sacrament. Don’t you know? You can rape your wife. And if she can prove that in court, you’ll have to pay an amount of Rs 20,000.

Thank you, sir, that is what I wanted. Money! For the loss of my dignity, for the loss of my trust, first in my husband and now in the government, who’ll keep my husband safe from jail or any prosecution, God forbid, he might incur some physical un-safety. Who cares about my emotional safety, my physical safety after being raped? I guess this is what I get for putting males in the top most chairs. You will have his back, everybody will have his back. Nobody cares about me.

I never mattered!

Sanctity of marriage – isn’t that honouring each other, respect, love, care and maybe share, if not money, then, at least a life? I was not told that marriage deprives you of your respect, it might make you ill  mentally and physically. I wouldn’t have married! He too might have been happier by going to a brothel, if, all he needs from a wife is sex. Nobody told him sex is only a part of the deal, there are other things that a ‘lady’ will ask of him. Maybe a little love, a little respect!

I die every day; thanks to all the people who think that raping your wife is not a crime. I am robbed of my dignity now, I might as well make a career out of it, might as well get paid. At least, I won’t have a preconceived idea of marriage and love in all of these men.

Later she told me that after the birth of her son, she filed for a divorce as she feared to create another individual like her husband. Therefore, she had to get her son away, away from ‘his’ influence. She got a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences as the court wouldn’t pay any heed to physical abuse reports by her. At that shattering thought, she ended her story. For me, she just ended a chapter. The second chapter of her life is much better. The story of her life improving with each day inspiring and spreading hope for every woman suffering through her life.

Her life has proved it that loss and suffering are not the ultimate story of life; those are, but mere chapters. We can always add a new chapter to the life and begin a fresh. She is an icon of struggle and bravery!

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