Women have been held hostage to a sense of “honor” all over the world, they have been placed on high pedestals to symbolize glory, honor, freedom…purity, chastity, refuge; so much has been placed on the collective shoulders of womanhood, that it is impossible for women to survive as free beings in the way men do. In itself, this may not be such a burden except that transgressions of the “virtues” women are presumed to represent, often leads to savage deaths of either the people (men) involved in such “transgressions” or, of the women themselves.
Wars have been fought over women and women are also the first victims of wars; they are the “collateral losses” when houses are bombed into oblivion, in order to kill “suspects”, they are the victims of rapes and sexual exploitation during and after wars and occupation. Seldom though, is there any discussion of the miseries of the abducted and raped women; seldom mentioned by the side of the perpetrators and seldom acknowledged by the victims’ people…”terrible things happened” is all that shows up in pages of history.
US, Germany, Russia, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh…no country has ever risen above the mass rapes of women of the vanquished people by the victors and in almost every case the stories have been buried, not by the perpetrators as much as by the nations of the victims…in defense of their national “honor”.
The independence and partition of India and Pakistan was a violent upheaval that cannot be justified, even by the “prize” of “Freedom”. Estimates of the dead vary, but a million people dead on both sides of the India-Pakistan border is a conservative number. What was understood to be a peaceful bifurcation, was turned on its head after extremists on both sides, whipped up anti-‘Other’ hysteria; Hindus and Sikhs forcing Muslims to leave India and Muslims forcing Hindus and Sikhs to leave Pakistan. Continue reading