I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back.
The other day, I was watching a Oprah re-run and something she said blurred the lines between past and present, between hurts and wounds and even crime and punishment….
In her lilting unforgettable twang Ms. Winfrey intoned, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” And I don’t know why, those words transported me to a past that still has the ability to cause pain, elicit fear and even result in hysteria in my otherwise calm existence. Is it always possible to turn each and every wound into moments of wisdom….?
Hey babes! Long time yeah? Well, if you are wondering about what I have been up to, well there were not all that many sexcapades between then and now. The reason? Well, am not a Nymphomaniac! The crush and I had a couple of nights to ourselves and that was that! He did ask me out a couple of times, but before he could sense where it was going, I had a feeling and so started avoiding him. As such I never wanted to break homes or “fall in love” again, did I? Sex, on the other hand can be a beautiful way to satiate your desires and feel good about yourself, but only when it is consensual, whether it is outside a relationship or wedlock or within it.
Let’s give the present a little rest for a while and travel back to a not-so-distant past when I was still a very-much married woman, but not quite the woman you hear from on these pages. Consensual sex in our country still comes with the trappings of tradition and convention. Sex between two adult, college-going students can still be considered a big taboo and stuff of sleazy MMSes and whispered taunts but sex between two people joined by a legal paper and mantras is ALWAYS consensual, right? Wrong! Downright hypocritical, I say!
The definition of rape, abuse, violence somehow take on an extremely blurry yet hunky dory feel when regarded within the bounds of that oh-so-sanctified institution called Marriage. But when it comes to rape, I know how it feels. I have been a victim too. Yeah been raped and I was such a sucker that I did not even raise my voice then, out of love, or whatever it was that I felt for the man then. I am talking about none other than the man I was married to. The man who took flimsy vows to protect and nurture me and then went about breaking each of those vows in the most painful ways possible! And what I’m referring to is Marital Rape. There were nights when I feigned headache, when I had a bad day at work, or the maids did not turn up. There were nights when I was ‘dry’ down there, but he would want it, nevertheless. There were times, when I would ask him to make me feel “up to it” and which he did. But there were also times, when in spite of all this, I just did not feel like making love! I specifically remember how some very, very rare nights unfolded. He would come home drunk, would demand I get into the mood. I would try and try and still before I could even prepare myself for it, I would be feeling his weight on me, coaxing my legs apart, fondling me here, and then there. And I would give in, without participating in the act of “lovemaking”, without even realizing that he has long satiated himself and is snoring away into oblivion. Yes, he was oblivious to my tears, my silent cries, my lying awake for hours on end. I had never imagined sex to be so painful.
The problem with me was, like so many other girls of my generation, I grew up on a heavy dose of Mills&Boons and Harlequins. Little did I realize that life is not always as it appears in books and films. Virginity was sacred for me and I would have never dreamed that I would end up separating from my husband ever. And had it been limited to these occasional rapes, I would have stayed on married. But heck!
I want all you women to know, your body and mind should be in the act of lovemaking. If you do not consent to it, no one should dare touch you or force you into the act. Yes, as a woman, I should have refused him and not surrendered to his animal instincts night after night. But I did, as I always feared that if I refuse, I would be ignoring my duties on bed. But in doing so, I ignored my duties to myself, my very Being.
And it is not just marital rapes, because there are increasing incidents of date rapes too. There are women who trust their male friends and they are subjected to such brutality which leaves them scathed and wounded for life. And mind you, I am talking about mental and emotional wounds here.
Now coming back to marital rapes, these instances in my life were rare and they decreased with time, and I was thankful, silently happy. Little did I realize that he was having his share of fun with someone else, and hence I was ‘spared the rod”. Yes, marital rape is akin to domestic violence. Methinks, it is all the more worse. It happens within the four walls of your bedroom, and you suffer night after night, believing it is your duty towards your man. It is called lovemaking, but there is not a trace of love, either before or after the act. You wake up next morning, with faint bruises and bites, and when someone asks you, you blush. If you wake up with dark shadows under the eyes, you wear over-sized sunglasses to work. If the ugly bite on your neck or cleavage shows up, you try to hide it with a saree or a dupatta. Why hide it? Instead of feeling angry and violated, you feel helpless or embarrassed.
Looking back at it now, probably, it does not hurt as much today. But yes, I do regret, not speaking out. I am sure, many women like me, bear with these incidents of rapes, within wedlock, day in and day out. I prod you to speak out, and say ‘No’. Respect yourself and your bodies and learn to say no. Would you want your daughters to also go through the same? Why not raise your voice now and set examples for other women to follow? It is alright for a woman to say ‘NO’!