This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 39; the thirty-ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "Break"
“Wow, so your marriage is fixed? Who is the boy? Is it Sathish?” I asked Yalini excitedly.
But Yalini didn’t appear as elated as me. In fact she looked ready to face the gallows itself.
“I’m getting married to Munna Patel”, she said in deadpan voice.
“You mean Munna Patel, son of Jagadish Patel? The same guy who raped you? Are you nuts?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I had met Yalini a year ago, when the NGO that I was working for stood up to support Yalini in her war against the corrupt MLA Jagadish Patel and his son Munna. Munna had abducted Yalini from her office parking lot and raped her brutally for one whole night. In the morning after, some early morning walkers had found her bruised and broken body in a ditch. She had been immediately hospitalized and had to be kept in ICU for an entire week.
Yalini’s case became instant news and there was much hue and cry about how the city had degenerated and was unsafe for women. For a month Yalini was in coma and doctors had given up hope. They had said that even if she survived she would be in a permanent dysfunctional state.
But what they had not accounted for was Yalini’s fighting spirit. Against all odds, she survived and gained consciousness. She remembered the events of that fateful night, when spurred by her constant rejection of proposals from Munna, he had abducted her and forced himself on her, repeatedly and continuously.
The image of her body and spirit breaking incited her to get better soon. She filed a case against Munna Patel. Munna was son of MLA Jagadish Patel whose influence level reached as high as the CM’s office. Many advised Yalini in a hushed tone to forget whatever happened to her and lead her life normally.
But how could she erase the horrendous image of Munna on top of her invading her and violating her innocence, her purity. What had she done to deserve it? Just that she had not been interested in his advances towards her. She wanted justice; she wanted to punish the guilty. So she had decided to file the case against Munna and our NGO along with a few others helped Yalini to gain momentum in her fight.
But things in our Indian Judiciary system worked very slowly, in fact the pace of the proceedings are so slow that sometimes when justice is finally served, the victim and the perpetrator would be dead and the justice served makes no sense. But that was how the law worked in our country.
And Yalini’s case was no different. It had been more than a year since her case was first heard by the court. But no real resolution could be seen and I could sense that Yalini and her family were feeling despondent.
Yalini belonged to a middle class family for whom virtue and honor were more important than money. They had been devastated by their daughter’s anguish and even though they were hesitant initially, they supported her in her fight for justice. But recently Yalini had confessed to me that they were worried about her future. The society looked upon her as a victim and empathized with her but, none would come forward to marry her. No one wanted a rape victim as their life partner. A rape victim had a social stigma attached in our bigot society.
“Nisha, you know my parents are worried about my fate and for some time now, I was feeling that the court case is going nowhere. I don’t think there is a point in fighting anymore. Our archaic laws have never changed and they never will. In the end Munna and his father will just buy the law. Few days back, Jagadish Patel had visited our home and proposed to accept me as his daughter-in-law if I withdraw the case. He’s ready to make amends and my family wants me to think about it”, replied Yalini in matter-of-fact tone.
“But can you accept Munna as your life partner? And what about Sathish, the chap from your office? I thought he was interested in you and you definitely had feelings for him”
Yalini was on verge of breaking out in tears, “I narrated what I had gone through, about the rape. He didn’t know about my past and I wanted him to know before we decided on our future. He has not talked to me ever since, Nisha. The truth is, no one would want a tainted woman as his wife. It’s the norms of the society. Although I was the victim I have been suffering since a year, whereas Munna is walking scot free.”
“When my relatives came to know that I was raped, many distanced themselves from my family. Then, there were few who came forward to shed crocodile tears and warn my parents that I have no future, that I could never lead a normal life. My parents are worried that the demons from my past will shadow my future forever. And marrying Munna is my only chance at a respected life”.
I was at a loss for words. I was also baffled at why Jagadish Patel would want his son to marry an ordinary girl. And then I realized that elections were coming near, and Jagadish Patel would want a clean sheet. Of course if Yalini agreed to marry Munna, then he could display that he was a magnanimous person. I feared for Yalini’s future if she entered the Patel household. She could be violated each day and stripped off every tiny shred of dignity that she possessed.
I was determined to save her. After talking to Yalini, I called Sathish at his office. I had met him once when Yalini introduced me to him. He came across as a simple, decent guy and it was difficult not to observe that he was head over heels in love with Yalini. I spoke to him for an hour and by the end of the phone call, the burden in my heart had lessened.
The next day there was a small gathering in Yalini’s house comprising of Sathish, Yalini’s parents, Yalini and me. Sathish spoke first addressing Yalini’s parents.
“I have come to ask your daughter’s hand in marriage. I am aware of her past, but it doesn’t matter to me, because your daughter was no way to blame for what happened to her. She is an intelligent, warm, independent and caring woman who deserves much more than a life with that vicious man, Munna.”
Yalini looked towards me and I nodded my head, indicating that I had appraised the situation to Sathish.
Sathish then turned towards Yalini and spoke, “I apologize that I took some time to think after we talked about your past. But I know now that my feelings towards you have not changed because of it. In fact I respect you more for your courage to stand and fight against evil. Yalini Mathur, I would consider myself lucky if you agree to marry me and make my life more meaningful.”
Yalini had tears in her eyes, but she was grinning. I had never seen her happier. She took Sathish’s extended hands and let herself be embraced in his arms. She knew that with Sathish by her side, she could fight her war with a renewed energy.
“It’s time that we change our perspective about women. Whenever there is a crime against a woman, we tend to blame the victim; we blame her for the dress that she wears, for her conduct, for the late hours that she keeps, the western influence that has corroded the minds of the youth. But the truth is no one wants to be violated, no girls asks to be raped. It’s time that we break free from the society’s confinements, break away from the repression and empower our women by providing the complete freedom that she deserves”