5th December, 2014
By Aidy Thomas
People who are obviously sick without emotional undertone are a lot easier to help than the others who require more than just medical attention. This might range from patients of ‘stigmatised diseases’ like HIV, Ebola or other private ailment not too pleasant to be identified with.
Unfortunately, rape is one experience people feel really reluctant to talk about despite the fact that the society is being enlightened on how to handle it. In the past, people were usually blamed for being rape victims- accusing fingers were pointed to the way they possibly dressed before the attack, where they went or the company kept but these days, activists and counsellors who have devoted their time, knowledge and resources to helping humanity have come to conclude that ‘Rape’ is simply a crime on its own with little or no connections with sexual attraction, lust, beauty or desire. It is rather widely considered as a crime committed by angry people whose main aim is to exploit, control, dominate, avenge or punish the other party which is considered weak.
With this discovery, I can now connect to a whole lot of things happening in our society and why it is extremely difficult to completely stop rape.
Stella, a pregnant young woman who was raped in her home right in front of her husband recounted the ordeal: “Although it’s not my first pregnancy, the experience was quite different and traumatic. I had no support from my husband at all and his family became so hostile I could not imagine what life wanted out of me.
“My husband and I have been married for four years and had a daughter. It was his decision that I quit my attractive pay cheque to look after our little angel for her early years then return to work later. The idea was not fantastic to me but when Ali (my husband) offered to take good care of the family with his booming business income and a promise for me to return to work whenever the child was settled in primary school, I bought into it.
On a Friday night when Ali came home from work, we had something really nice and special for dinner as it was our family tradition to make Friday nights really worth expecting. As we finished eating, there was a knock on the door and when he went to answer, three huge guys pushed through and signalled for silence while they narrated their mission.
The one who acted as their leader said they were sent to collect all the money Ali brought in from work earlier that evening, cut off his right hand and finally rape his wife in turns while he watched. My husband had done a business with someone who was not happy with what he got and promised to ‘deal’ with him.
As soon as I heard the word ‘rape’, my feeble heart sank as I looked at the horrible looking creatures and my tiny brain could not explain how I would survive the rampage. With their ‘three points’ agenda, they decided to start with me while Ali was asked to get ready to provide the money and lose his right hand as a departure gift. It was when the second devilish guy started his violation that our front door swung open and there came my husband’s brother who was not actually living with us but had our spare key; he decided to come and share in our Friday night goodies. In fear, the three evil men fled thinking it was some kind of arrangement by the neighbours to hand them over to the police. What that means is that the whole operation ended with me; my hubby’s right hand was not cut and the money was not even taken.
I was expecting my husband to be concerned and show some care after what the bad guys did to me but that was not the case at all. He was cold, angry and resentful toward me. His first accusation was “You were really enjoying it; I saw the way you responded to them. Why didn’t you scream for help?” I could not take a third accusation before I lashed out asking why he was not screaming on my behalf. In anger, he slapped my face but come to think of it, what offence did I commit? I was in my home, it was you who had a bad deal and brought attackers home, I was the one violated and now you turn around to slap and blame me for being a victim of what I cannot explain – how cruel can a husband be?”
A few weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant and that was a bad dive in my marriage as Ali abandoned us in the home with no money and disappeared to another planet.
His family members knew where he was but no one ever made an attempt to tell me. He could not be reached on the phone and the messages he sent made me give up any hopes of getting back with him.
I swallowed my shame and went public with my story (something he never dreamt I could do) in a bit to obtain help from people. The response was overwhelming; gifts came from every direction, baby things, food, clothes, cash, etc. The mass media also played a significant role in making the story ‘hot news’ and almost every related talk show mentioned my case. Some openly pleaded with Ali to return while others condemned his act.
Finally, I had twins (two boys). I cannot say exactly how I felt after the birth but my heart was filled with gratitude to the people who stood by me. Three months down the line, Ali came and apologised for the pains he caused me and accepted to father the boys.
It was the hardest decision of my life whether to agree or not but looking beyond my feelings, the children needed someone they could call father so I accepted him back. I was still hurting seriously but my love for the innocent children covered all pains. We got help from counsellors and therapists but that former bond was gone.
…To be continued.