On January 19, hundreds of women wrote letters to a group of nuns from Kerala, letters of anger, pain, solidarity and love. He had one reason, and many reasons.
In 2018, a nun filed an FIR against Bishop Franco Mulakkal accusing him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The FIR came after the church did not offer any redress, but instead offered threats and harassment. She was supported by her friends and associates, Sisters Elfie, Anupama, Josephine, Nina Rose and Ansett. As one of them said, “We as individuals are not fighting against the bishop, [but his] The ways and silence of the Church. ,
Last week a court in Kottayam acquitted the bishop—which caused a river of letters to flow towards the sisters. The perfectly familiar language of the judgment cast doubt on the character, conduct and motives of the complainant.
When the man in question is powerful, answers to ‘why would a woman accuse someone of rape’ rarely include ‘probably because she was raped’. Everyone knows that a powerful man has enemies, na (never need solid proof of this). His case leads to the possible extermination of all noble men, and all women becoming witches. Quite different from shedding blood to protect ‘our women’ when the accused is a poor man.
Much discussion rests on whether the woman behaved like a true rape victim. The truest rape victim is the one who is definitely dead. Alive, she becomes suspicious and these discussions constantly encourage us to pretend that we don’t know how power can make coercion or compulsion look like consent. Has a woman had consensual sex with someone else? So obviously whatever sex he has must be consensual. For example, if she is married, and therefore has sex, then the question of consent does not arise. Women’s sexual consent is inextricably linked to the idea of masculine privilege and our refusal to discuss it is our refusal to question that privilege.
Resistance to the recognition of marital rape as a crime is again based on an imagined apocalypse of false accusations that signal the end of the family. If questioning a man’s absolute right to sex and violence is a threat to the Indian family, what does that say about that institution? Some men declared that they would go on #MarriageStrike if such a law came in. No depressed females were recorded.
Don’t worry boys. Check out the recent cover of Vanitha magazine, which features actor Dileep as the perfect family man with the appropriate accessories: maroon kurta, wife and kids. Being a rape-accused, hiring men to assault a female co-worker, he felt he had surpassed her, did not come in the way.
The protection of powerful men is about protecting the institutions that empower them – the priesthood or the family. It is only to maintain this power that patriarchy trains us to take a loving look at men, to thrill their humanity and power, to cry for their troubles, and to take a hyper-critical look at women’s pain and achievements, such as They be permanent daughters- in-laws in a soap opera. To change the world, a million love letters must be written for women’s struggles and rights, love letters for their lives and light. As writer J Devika writes in herself, “The skeptics who say fireflies can’t beat the night… please tell them… if millions of fireflies get together, they can beat this endless night.” “
Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org