From Hell to Tell

Irrespective of the origin, I always tend to read a lot about other women especially their struggles and inspiration. I have come to the understanding that, no matter which country or race you belong to, a woman or the female species has always been subjected to violation in many forms. Today was just another day where I read about the harrowing experience of an ISIS sex slave victim.

‘How do people have the heart to violate others?’… Now, this topic needs an extensive study. In this young woman’s case, she was abducted at a tender age of 11 after watching all the male members in her family executed live. She served as a slave for a head till the age of 25 and was punished severely when she attempted an escape. Her punishment was not getting hit on the hand, or kneeling down but getting gang raped by her rapist’s juniors. She described how she was forced into doing all the dirtiest things possible to please not just this man and how she endured all of it to avoid further abuse. There was one instance where she was burnt with cigarette buds to see her reaction while others laughed and another where she watched girls younger than her getting raped in front of her. Throughout the reading, I could sense the pain and fear a little girl had till adulthood.

The very thought of being in a situation like her itself is so devastating. It is so difficult to put it in words and even harder to imagine the atrocities. This story was not a ‘woman thing’ alone. It’s about hurting another human being. Don’t these people have any remorse? Do they even show compassion or have they ever shown pity to anyone? I wonder if death in the worst-case scenario is one form of showing Mercy to these women. In any case, its difficult to predict how long will all this continue.

If you are reading this, you are in a better place. I took a few minutes to visit her scary and painful path, placing myself in her shoes and those like her. Even as I am typing my thoughts to share with you, my hair strands on my hands are up. Reading about stories like hers has become so common that it doesn’t affect us (or much). Have you ever pondered… ‘if women are treated like this in our generation where on one side we have an iPhone with Face recognition and another shady side where women are locked away behind the doors of slavery, deprivation and humiliation, what will our future be? What will the future of every girl that are born now and those who will be born in the future be?’ The thought itself is so frightening. Voices like hers need to be told (repeatedly). It has to be told. It should be told so that we don’t forget that there is a darker side of humanity, which needs our attention and action.

A light against the dark

Finally I know her full name!

It was on this day three years back she endured one of the most horrific crimes committed against women. She also highlighted how unsafe it is for women to venture out in my country. She was brutally raped, tortured and thrown out of the bus. With her internal organs completely damaged, she underwent multiple surgeries. The doctors tried their level best to keep her alive, and she too did her part by not giving up. She mustered all her strength to reunite with the life that she once lived, to fulfill the dreams of her now shattered parents, to tie the many more rakhi’s for her dear brother, to simply, just simply live her life once again. She soon became a household name. She became a daughter or a sister for the millions of Indians. Yes, she was now ‘Family’.

In the days that followed, there were protests and anger amongst many of us but it was mostly the prayers. I too was among the ‘many’ angry at what she went through, angry at our society on how they see women merely as an object of sex only to use and throw, angry with myself for being so, so helpless. Every day she would be a part of me. I would wake up early and switch on the news channel for some positive news on her recovery. All I got was she’s stable, she spoke a few words, she had another surgery, she’s serious, and so on. I remember talking to my mother, telling her that I hope she wakes up soon, but then if she does how will her life be. I imagined myself as her right from what she went through to what she was going through. The fear I had was nerve wrecking. It was something I can till date, not describe. I somehow felt her fear and pain. She was completely immersed in me or rather it was I. Either way, she was now my sister and a daughter to my mother fighting against all odds to live.

She was her best on 29th December 2012. Yes, that’s what I believe and she didn’t lose. She fought and fought, and never gave up. But given all that, when my mother and I heard the news, all hell broke loose. It was the second time in my life my eyes moistened for a human being. The tears now were for someone whom I hadn’t met personally. I cried with my heart, consoled myself several times that she is now in a better place but the truth was – I wanted her to live. The pain was immense and soon everyone I knew also felt it.

Today is her 4th anniversary. I hope she is better now, happy and safe wherever she is.

And yes, her name is Jyoti Singh.


(Note: This was posted on FB to all my friends on this day last year.)