WHAT GOOD IS A HUSBAND IN THE FACE OF WAR?

This, excerpt from A WOMAN IN BERLIN by Anonymous, recapitulates,

 

It’s strange how the men always start by asking, ‘Do you have a husband?’ What’s the best way to answer? If you say no, they start making advances right away. If you say yes, thinking they’ll leave you in peace, they just go on with their grilling: ‘Where is he? Did he stay in Stalingrad for good?’ (Many of our troops fought at Stalingrad; they wear special medal.) If you have a real live man around, one you can actually show them (as the widow does with Herr Pauli, even though he’s her tenant and nothing more), they’ll bask off a bit – at first. But they don’t really care; they take what they can get, married or not. However, they prefer to keep the husband out of the way for as long as needed, by sending him off somewhere or locking him up or doing something else. Not because they’re afraid. They’ve already noticed that none of the husbands here are very likely to fly into a rage. But having one around makes them uncomfortable – unless they’re completely plastered.” (Anonymous 2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister’s Keeper

 Last week, two women were sexually assaulted in different places in France. One of the women was on transit at a metro station in Lille when a juvenile delinquent attacked her. This atrocity lasted approximately thirty minutes before he was arrested. The most annoying part was that fellow passengers pretended not to notice, not to hear the lady screaming for help and they did not come to her rescue even when she ran to the platform where everybody clearly saw her being victimised. Not one person; man or woman, attempted confronting the perpetrator. There is no doubt whatsoever that women were among the witnesses, I mean youth and mature women but their consciousness was void of empathy to respond to the agony of this victim.

Article 223-6 [2] of the French Penal Code severely condemn this non assistance à personne en danger and is punishable by five years imprisonment and 75 000 euro fine. Currently, there is an on-going investigation to arrest these eye-witnesses.

Where we often have this pervasive is that our men are superheroes, always there to liberate us in moments of trouble. Notwithstanding, the reality opened before us and that is, we are now confronted with the question of whether the grandeur of masculinity is not losing it grace. As women, we might as well turn back into our inner man to save ourselves in the case where our men are falling woefully.

Who wants to die? Our contemporary world is becoming harder and harder, and people are metamorphosing in this narcissistic beasts entitled, ‘It’s all about me’. This ‘me first, me first, ’ attitude has sucked and still sucking the goodness out of us.

Regarding the second woman (a 34 year-old Canadian tourist), four senior French policemen were arrested after she reported being lured the premises of the headquarters of the Paris Crime Brigade (DRPJ) at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, on the night of April 22nd and gang raped. According to the press, the woman was herself an ex-policewoman and her father was a Toronto policeman. Some classified this as acquaintance rape, but whatever. Rape is rape. Some reported she flirted with the men and persuaded them to take her into the Brigade headquarters, which is formally prohibited to outsiders.

There is not anything as annoying as hearing that one of the policemen first denied bringing the lady inside the premises and of rape. The others denied that they’d gang-raped her while she was in the state of stupor. It was only after a series of grilling that the first officer confessed having sexual intercourse with her but in a consensual manner.

When policemen are not in a position to control their penises, I wonder who are we, as women, ought to run to for help during an emergency. Be the fact that we are talking about police officer here, right? Where is patriotism? Whatever became of two of the policemen remains unanswered. However, the other two were fired immediately. It would be difficult for them to retrieve their former jobs.

As for the victim, she flew back to Canada. I believed she’d take the best decision to get far. Far away from the vicinity of this mess and I do hope that she finds peace, and get by quickly with the aftermath trauma of rape.

That said, I am compiling the present post today for one major reason. I’d expect something dramatic to happen as a result of these two sexual assaults. To have collective French women’s movements coming out in their numbers to show their fury. Nothing happened. Today I found nowhere in the newspapers any progressive reports on these incidents. The stories were extinguished, done with and buried. Just like that, without any follow-up action. If women’s NGOs can organise street demonstration condemning these, they would have helped minimise the perpetrator’s mentality of ‘she asked for it’. Who knows what’s going to come next? Who knows if the next victim(s) is going to be just you, your daughter, sister, or mine or myself? Not reacting to all calls farther worsen scenario and unless we shred of this egocentric mindset, we are not going to be our sister’s keeper.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

We could have pretended that all is well. We could have just sat back and fold our hands as if all is well. And when we do this, then it means we are extremely selfish. Many a times, there are incidents that can propel us or even compel us to always take action and one of those is the troubling story of Sakineh.

I wouldn’t want us to go into the detail, as you all knew the fate of this woman. All l am going to emphasise here is that it is high time we did something to save Sakineh. She is like every woman. She wants to be free. She desires the freedom that you have gotten so abundantly.

Life is so full of bliss and dark side. Often we believe we are not doing the best in our capacity but that’s where we are wrong. The truth is that we give back the best in us to life. We don’t need to stand by and wait until events turn in our favour. The reason is, it is not all the time that this can happen. We have to go for it. On this term I am mentioning again Sakineh. Whatever she must have done, I believe she has a right to her life. She has the right to determine how she should live her life. In a society whereby freedom is at cost, then it does not worth it.

Let me bring to your attention, today, what we have at hand is the death penalty that Sakineh is facing. Tomorrow, it may be another woman. It may be your turn. It may be mine as well. We are not just going to help Sakineh out of her problem. We are also going to focus on the need to stop this death threat melt out by the Iranian government.  Life is not a joke. Life is about love and where there is no love, then there is a problem. A life taken by force is a crime and it is sinful in the eyes of God. Iran should not be a threatening zone for women. Every society should be a place of peace and serenity for every woman.

A woman is not a dog. She deserves the best out of life. She is a treasure with abundant potentials inside of her. She is a flower waiting to blossom. A woman does not want her life to be at stake. She sees life different from her male counterpart. What she sees is forgiveness, liberty and the airiness of continuity. For her, she believes everything should come so easily without any distractions. A woman is ready to take many risks in other to ensure that life goes well not only for her but also for those around her. A woman is gift that no one can ever buy. The heart of a woman is imbibed with indescribable passions that show in whatever she does.

Let us go back to Sakineh. I want you to put yourself in her shoes. And then I want you to ask yourself some of these questions, what if I am the one awaiting this death sentence? Will I ever come out of it? Do I deserve this punishment? To what level is my crime that I should die by hanging or stoning? Does this sentence justify the means?

It is nearly five years that Sakineh is imprisoned. She has not been able to see the light or the streets in her country. She is closed up, and shut up in a cell like an animal. Each day, she’s been interrogating as if she is the worst criminal on earth. She has no right to go out to say hello to her friends or family unless they visit her.

As you put yourself in her position, you will come to understand that Sakineh is suffering daily. For all reason, Sakineh does not deserve to die. She is not a criminal. She is a woman just searching for love, though she might have searched in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Let us act to save Sakineh. She must not die. Let her live to give the best to her children. Let her live to enjoy the best of days ahead of her. Let her live to embrace the liberty. Let her live to sees the lights and the warmth of the day. Let her live to love and be loved in return.

I would like to thank you heartily for reading this bulletin. Thank you so much for your understanding. One more thing I require of you is, PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY. The more this circulates, the faster help will come for Sakineh. Once again, I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I am just a woman like you working to ensure that the earth is free of violence and abuses against every women, be it young, old, fat, skinny, educated, illiterate, rich or poor, strong or weak.

Best Wishes,

Help the Punching Bag Team

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Are You A Victim? Speedy Steps You Must Take before it’s too late (STEP 7)

THOSE IN YOUR WORLD

Do not listen to people, friends or family who advise you to stay ON in the relationship. Some of them may mean well but majority of them may not. None of these people live with you. They do not understand and neither will they if you try hard to explain your horrible experiences to them.

People are there to help us, this I acknowledge BUT in the case of domestic violence, it is you, the woman, who holds the largest responsibility to what happens to you.

You may choose to listen to these people, thinking that they are right and thus end up having your precious life taken by this man

And you may choose to escape by going away so that you will still be alive to see your children’s children. The choice is yours.

It is your life and safety that we are mentioning here. If you value your life and your well being, then you will do whatever it takes to protect it.

Are You A Victim? Speedy Steps You Must Take before it’s too late (STEP 6)

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

–       Prepare a temporary bag, and its content mostly should be your Identity card, your credit card (that’s the one for your private individual account), legal documents of you and your children such as marriage certificate, birth certificates, health, house and vehicle insurances, travelling passports and others.

–       PHOTOCOPIES! If you can lay hands on the original without his awareness, then fine but you wouldn’t want another aggression from him after he discovers some documents are missing. Photocopies of these documents are okay. They still show you are the owner of whatever details are written on them.

–       You may be thinking, what is the importance this?  Do you prefer to flee without anything valuable on you? Are you ready to let him take it all thus dominating your life even when you are no longer with him? There have been tales of many abusive partners still manipulating their victims because they are the only one with access to the documents.

Few years ago during my younger sister civil wedding, the registrar openly told my sister, as he was handling over the marriage certificate that she should hold on to the certificate with her entire strength as if her life depends on it.  Everybody laughed. They found it funny but I understood the registrar.  He is a man and he knew much about the effect of losing such certificate.

I advise you to keep documents far away from the home you share with your abusive partner. I repeat; photocopies are better off than nothing. The moment you start observing conflict and consistent quarrels between you, get out the documents you knew you dare not joke it. Look for safe deposit office or close relation or friend (someone you can trust), and tell them to keep the papers for you.

Just be ready!

Are You A Victim? Speedy Steps You Must Take before it’s too late (STEP 4)

–       Call the Police. The law enforcement agents are there to help you. It is their duty to protect you, to ensure that you are at safety. When you keep silence on all the abuses your partner inflicted on you, then you are in total danger. The only way you can save yourself is to talk out. Do not think that by keeping quiet that you are helping the situation. In fact, you worsen it the more.

–       Always have a phone handy. Making phone calls is not supposed to be difficult anymore. All you have to do it, flee to a room where there is a phone, lock yourself in and dial for help. If you have informed the Police ahead of time about your partner and what you go through in, they will be ready for you at all time.

–       Do not be afraid of the Police. Never think they are going to give you away. They are the first contact in this situation and you must not avoid them if you want to stay alive.

–       What if you don’t want to alert the Police but a close friend? This is no problem. Just remember to have your phone ready in any room you flee to during the attack.