It started as a tingle at the back of her neck, a vague sense of unease
She ventured a look round
He was standing at the bar, one of a group of men laughing and looking determined to enjoy themselves, but whereas they were loud and boisterous, he stood still and silent, his eyes fixed on her
She let her gaze pass over him as if she had not noticed his attention
She was there with friends from work to celebrate a promotion.
“I think you’ve an admirer”, said one of her friends, noticing the attention she was receiving
She laughed it off, but the uneasiness was growing
Later, she went to the loo. When she came out, he was waiting for her.
He grabbed her arm. He asked her to dance. She declined as politely as she could and spun away from his grasp
She rejoined her friends but the encounter with the man had unsettled her. Pleading a headache, she decided to leave. She did not live too far distant and when she called home, one of her brothers agreed to fetch her
There was no sign of the man when she left the club
It was cold outside and after a few moments she decided to start walking towards home, along the route she knew her brother would take to meet her. It was an unwise decision
She was reaching into her purse for her cell-phone in order to tell her brother the change in plan when she was grabbed from behind and pulled in to an alley
He tried to force his tongue into her mouth. She bit down hard on it and was rewarded with several punches to the head. She lost consciousness for a time and when she came to he had pulled her pants down and was raping her with his fingers. He rolled on top, forcing his way inside her. She struggled to throw him off but he was too strong. He hit her again, and again, and again, and then produced the scalpel.
I told the story of this girl at a dinner party last night. The conversation had turned to violence against women in India.
The tragic death of 23 year old Jyoti Singh Pandey (http://tinyurl.com/bjgyljk) after being gang-raped on a Delhi bus gained world wide coverage in the media because of the callous brutality and disregard for human life of her attackers. Sadly, this barbarity is not unusual in rape cases. Men forcibly penetrating a woman’s vagina against her will are not noted for their compassion and sensitivity !
One of the men present (being deliberately provocative, perhaps?) suggested rape was no great deal and women should just lay back and enjoy it. I told the story of this girl to make the point that there is nothing enjoyable about being raped, just pain, disgust, and fear; fear that the rapist is not going to allow one to live afterwards.
This girl knew that fear and is reminded of it every time she looks at the scars the scalpel blade left on her stomach and inner thighs.
For that was her attacker’s real ‘kick’. Not satisfying a craving for sex but the feeling of power and control over another human being. Perhaps he was made to feel insignificant at home or at work? When he raped this girl, however, he was no longer a small unimportant person. She had not welcomed his advances. How dare she! Well, now he had shown her who was the boss. When he held the scalpel over her he was God-like for a moment. He held her life in his hands. His decision as to whether she lived or died; and the scars left on her body to be a constant reminder to her of that fact!
For the truth of the matter is that for many rapists the driving force behind the act is not a need for sex but a desire to humiliate a woman and/or a wish to experience the ‘high’ that comes with the feeling of being the one that is pulling the strings, of being powerful, of controlling what happens to other people