Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Rape In My Backyard

Just yesterday I wrote about being settled and today my mind's back to its hyper-self. Since last night there suddenly seem to be too many things happening, and the mind, my mind in particular, absorbs all -- sounds, sights, feelings, the said and the unsaid -- quite effortlessly and starts to work overtime.

Upon his return from work last night, my husband told me that a resident of our society has been accused of rape by his maid and that policemen in plain clothes had been waiting for him at the gate. It was midnight and there was no sign of him yet, the wife and the child were at home while the maid -- the victim -- had been taken away by the police to ensure she's safe.

Every now and then we read about such instances in the newspapers and turn the page, watch it on breaking news and turn the TV off but what do we do when it happens in our backyard? Do we shut the door or simply look away?

A man who has a wife and a child, who lives in a decent area, in a decent house and in all probability works in a decent office and makes good money -- why would he rape a housemaid? What transpires a rape anyway? I really don't want to know.

What I'm concerned about is the wife. In such a situation, what would she have done, would she have called the husband to warn him of the police, or would she have helped the maid go to the police? Does she believe the maid or the husband -- I assume that the husband will plead innocence as in most cases. There is one more possibility though, that she was a party to it.

What would any wife do in such a situation? If she goes to the police, supports the victim and gets the husband punished -- what happens to her and her child? If she helps her husband, trusts that he is innocent, blames the maid for framing him, what happens to her then? Does she live with the doubt all her life? It is a tough question and as a wife I don't even want to think about it. As a woman though, I'd like to.

What would I do if something like this comes up? I am an educated and independent woman who has been brought up to be at par with men. If the need arises, I can take care of myself and my children, yet there is an insecurity -- about what I cannot say.

There are so many women like me and most of them, if not all, attach their worth to their husbands. The moment a woman gets married, it becomes her responsibility to prove how happy she is in the marriage, how wonderful her husband is, and how grateful she is to have him. Such women would also hold themselves responsible for the husbands faults. I have hardly seen husbands do that. The ones who praise their wives are labelled henpecked and are a butt of jokes not only among other men but even among women, and the ones who hold themselves responsible for the woman's fault, umm I don't think such men even exist.

So, who is to be blamed or should we blame anyone at all? I don't know. I also don't know why am I writing this today. What I do know is that we -- the women -- the wives -- need to love ourselves a little more and not attach our worth to anyone. We need to stop taking the responsibility for all that goes wrong in the lives of our family members and bask in the glory of what all we help them set right.

Meanwhile, I wonder what that poor wife must be going through. I am assuming she is not a party to the crime, I am also assuming there is some truth in the maid's charge, and I pray she lives happily ever after. Somehow.

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