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Is it any stretch of imagination to realise that probably the mother was also being raped by these men? That if she objected, worse could happen to her and the child?
Trigger Warning: This speaks of child sexual abuse, violence against women, and may be triggering to survivors.
Yea, yea, shocking and all. I’m not writing about the wonderful ways of men. I didn’t even really read the article, I quickly jumped to the comments to see if people would find a way to blame it on women. And of course they did. Every other comment was, “What was the mother doing?”
In an old Indra Nooyi video I saw recently, she talks about getting into Yale and how her mother refused to let her go to America, how it was her father who insisted that he would never discriminate between his sons and daughters. Enough number of the women commentators were singing songs about how we must appreciate feminist men and how women can also be patriarchal.
The irony of women beating on other women in the name of feminism seemed to escape them.
When I was younger, I always thought that I had a very hard, disciplinarian mother and a warm, funny, supportive father. At school, I was reasonably proficient at sport, particularly at high jump where I intermittently won medals. It used to make my father proud and mother not so much. It was okay when I was younger but as I grew older Amma used to actively discourage it. It made me hate her then. But now that I know better, I understand her decisions better.
We used to wear pinafores at school, on PT day it was white. We had to jump with those. There were no track pants given to girls. Jumping was a complex act of holding onto the skirt and jumping over the bar. God forbid if men got turned on by the sight of children’s underwear. Anyone scoffing please look up all those up skirt pics of women tennis players.
Aside from protecting me and my izzat, Amma probably calculated odds of if I was going be India’s shining medal hope v/s getting a good job by studying. Plus as a housewife, busy mother of three she probably would have had to cull out the non-existent time from her schedule to take me to practice. And still get back to making breakfast for my father before he left for work. And worry about me being safe at practice. Everywhere that we had to be picked up or dropped to as kids, it was Amma, in rain and shine in darkness and in light, who would protectively drop us. I don’t know who protected her as she walked back home. Maybe the ghost of her mother. Definitely not the male ancestors. Even there, there must be a bro code. A man will never challenge another man from assaulting a woman or a child. So was my sporting dream lost because of my mother or because of this world of men?
Coming to this news item. Is it any stretch of imagination to realise that probably the mother was also being raped by her husband, father in law, brother in law, son? That these sick fucks had normalised rape in that house? That if she objected, worse could happen to her and the child?
Magically, if it was only the child who was being raped, would the mother have even made it to the police station where another man would take down notes? If there was another miraculous event and the policeman did take notes, would he then make it to their home and arrest all the men or would he be invited to partake in their fun activities? If many levels of miracles did occur and the mother managed get them all behind bars, would she then take the daughter to court for hearings, for years, to give evidence against the family only to have them released in a couple of years because judges have been known to be excessively kind to rapists?
Actually many miracles did occur in this case. Education was the biggest of them all. The child learnt at school about good touch and bad touch and blew the whistle on her family. But even now I worry what mother and daughter will do. How will they manage? Will other men think that they were fair game?
Did Indra Nooyi’s mother have her own money or the authority to send her to Yale if her father had objected? Could she have taken him on? As an older woman she knew how had it was going to be for an 18 yo in a foreign country, by herself. Life had taught the mother caution. That it takes a lot for a woman to make it in every field- sports, politics, science, corporate… You think Indra Nooyi would think this through before dissing her mother.
Many of us, particularly women, have difficult relationships with our mothers. We often see our fathers as the good cop and the mothers as the bad ones. Unfortunately I don’t even think they were cops, they didn’t have that much authority. Life had taught them their place and in their own toxic, even patriarchal way they were trying to warn us, to keep our dreams mundane, our ambitions contained lest we were destroyed for having dreams.
Image source: YouTube and Quint
Hema Gopinathan left a blight of a corporate career to homeschool her two children. A teacher trained in the Waldorf/ Rudolf Steiner pedagogy, a writer, an artist, a crocheter, Hema spends half her time in read more...
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