Friday, 6 January 2012

Take your pick. This punishment, or That?

In some parts of the world, there are women who are goaded into a state of subservience and docility with the threat of sex and violence. This isn’t the case of rapists looming large, and indulging in some carnal invasion of a woman’s modesty owing to a generic state of depravity that their mental faculty possesses. This is the case of men in a dominant position who try taking their status to another level, by exerting a measure of “power” over the woman, in an attempt to have her do his bidding.

A recent news item caught my fancy, wherein it came to light that a Landlord forced his tenant’s wife to sleep with him, and when the poor woman refused, he beat her up. The landlord allegedly claimed that he has right over his tenants including their wives to do his wishes and therefore wanted to sleep with her. When she refused, he tore up her clothes and beat her up.

The sheer propensity of those in dominating positions tending to indulge in masochistic displays of power and the sheer inability to understand that power also requires an equivalent display of responsibility is a deadly confluence that serves only to destroy. While this is a tale of an ordinary landlord- who in all truth, is barely a person in “power”, the sordid reality is equally true for plenty of people in fairly stronger and more powerful positions. In most such instances, women are virtually held at ransom, and are forced to comply with unfair demands and are often made to comply with forceful imposition on their person or property, as the case may be. Be it the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan, where war turned the bodies of women into battlegrounds, or Nigeria and India where men are known to assert their “influence” and “power” over the “weaker sex” even on the domestic and social front.

Perhaps this is one major factor to consider when sensitization and education is to be listed as a prerequisite for one who wishes to occupy a position of power. Anyone in a position of power must be trained to understand that power cannot be delineated from responsibility, and that as a person in a position of power, one has a necessary obligation to those under him, to act in a manner in keeping with decorum and acceptable conduct. 

The writing is on the wall. For women like the one in the news, the situation is just a version of Hobson's Choice, a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a choice between two punishments. 

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