“I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape


gang

I was gang raped three years ago, when I was 17 years old.  My name and my photograph appear with this article.  in  1983, in Manushi.

I grew up in Bombay, and am at present studying in the USA. I am writing a thesis on rape and came home to do research a couple of weeks ago. Ever since that day three years ago, I have been intensely aware of the misconceptions people have about rape, about those who rape and those who survive rape. I have also been aware of the stigma that attaches to survivors. Time and again, people have hinted that perhaps death would have been better than the loss of that precious“virginity.” I refuse to accept this. My lifeis worth too much to me.

I feel that many women keep silent to avoid this stigma, but suffer tremendous agony because of their silence. Men blame the victim for many reasons, and,shockingly, women too blame the victim, perhaps because of internalized patriarchal values, perhaps as a way of making themselves invulnerable to a horrifying possibility.

It happened on a warm July evening.That was the year women’s groups were beginning to demand improved legislation on rape. I was with my friend Rashid. We had gone for a walk and were sitting on a mountainside about a mile and a half from my home in Chembur which is a suburb of Bombay. We were attacked by four men,who were armed with a sickle. They beat us, forced us to go up the mountain, and kept us there for two hours. We were physically and psychologically abused, and, as darkness fell, we were separated, screaming, and they raped me, keeping Rashid hostage. If either of us resisted, the other would get hurt. This was an effective tactic.

They could not decide whether or not to kill us. We did everything in our power to stay alive. My goal was to live and that was more important than anything else. I fought the attackers physically at first, and with words after I was pinned down. Anger and shouting had no effect, so I began to babble rather crazily about love and compassion,I spoke of humanity and the fact that I was a human being, and so were they, deep inside. They were gentler after this, at least those who were not raping me at the moment. I told one of them that if he ensured neither Rashid nor I was killed, I would come back to meet him, the rapist, the next day. Those words cost me more than Ican say, but two lives were in the balance. The only way I would ever have gone back there was with a very, very sharp instrument that would ensure that he never rapedagain.

After what seemed like years of torture (I think I was raped 10 times but I was in so much pain that I lost track of what was going on after a while), we were let go,with a final long lecture on what an immoral whore I was to be alone with a boy. That infuriated them more than anything. They acted the whole time as if they were doing me a favour, teaching me a lesson. Theirs was the most fanatical kind of self righteousness.

They took us down the mountain and we stumbled on to the dark road, clinging to each other and walking unsteadily. They followed us for a while, brandishing the sickle, and that was perhaps the worst part of all—escape was so near yet death hung over us. Finally we got home, broken, bruised, shattered. It was such an incredible feeling to let go, to stop bargaining for our lives and weighing every word because we knew the price of angering them was a sickle in the stomach. Relief flooded into our bones and out ofour eyes and we literally collapsed into hysterical howling.

I had earnestly promised the rapists that I would never tell any one but the minute I got home, told my father to call the police He was as anxious as I was to get them apprehended. I was willing to do anything to prevent someone else having to go through what I had been through. The police were insensitive, contemptuous, and somehow managed to make me the guilty party. When they asked me what had happened,I told them quite directly, and they were scandalized that I was not a shy, blushing victim. When they said there would be publicity, I said that was all right. It had honestly never occurred to me that Rashid or I could be blamed. When they said Iwould have to go into a home for juvenile delinquents for my “protection.” I was willing to live with pimps and rapists, in order to be able to bring my attackers to justice.

Soon I realized that justice for women simply does not exist in the legal system. When they asked us what we had been doing on the mountain, I began to get indignant. When they asked Rashid why he had been “passive”, I screamed. Didn’t they understand that his resistance meant further torture for me? When they asked questions about what kind of clothes I had been wearing, and why there were no visible marks on Rashid’s body (he had internal bleeding from being repeatedly hit in the stomach with the handle of the sickle), I broke down in complete misery and terror, and my father threw them out of the house after telling them exactly what he thought of them. That was the extent of the support the police gave me. No charges were brought. The police recorded a statement that we had gone for a walk and had been “delayed” on our return.

It has been almost three years now, but there has not been even one day, when I have not been haunted by what happened. Insecurity, vulnerability, fear, anger, helplessness—I fight these constantly. Sometimes when I am walking on the road and hear footsteps behind I start to sweat and have to bite my lip to keep from screaming. I flinch at friendly touches, I can’t bear tight scarves that feel like hands round my throat, I flinch at a certain look that comes into men’s eyes—that look is there so often.

Yet in many ways I feel that I am a stronger person now. I appreciate my life more than ever. Every day is a gift. I fought for my life, and won. No negative reaction can make me stop feeling that this is positive.

I do not hate men. It is too easy a thing to do, and many men are victims of different kinds of oppression. It is patriarchy I hate, and that incredible tissue of lies that say men are superior to women, men have rights which women should not have, men are our rightful conquerors.

My feminist friends all assume that I am concerned about women’s issues because I was raped. This is not so. The rape was one expression of all the reasons why Iam a feminist. Why compartmentalize rape ? Why assume rape is only an unwanted act of intercourse ? Are we not raped every day when we walk down the street and are leered at ? Are we not raped when we are treated as sex objects, denied our rights, oppressed in so many ways ? The oppression of women cannot be analysed unidimensionally. For example, a class analysis is very important, but it does not explain why most rapes occur within one’s own class.

As long as women are oppressed in various ways, all women will continue to be vulnerable to rape. We must stop mystifying rape. We must acknowledge its existence all round us, and the various forms it takes. We must stop shrouding it in secrecy, and must see it for what it is — a crime of violence in which the rapist is the criminal.

I am exultant at being alive. Being raped was terrible beyond words, but I think being alive is more important. When a woman is denied the right to feel this, there is something very wrong in our value system. When someone is mugged and allows herself to be beaten in order to survive, no one thinks she is guilty of willing consent to be beaten. In the case of rape, a woman is asked why she let them do it, why she did not resist, whether she enjoyed it.

Rape is not specific to any group of women, nor are rapists a particular group of men. A rapist could be a brutal madman or the boy next door or the too friendly uncle. Let us stop treating rape as the problem of other women. Let us acknowledge its universality and come to a better understanding of it.

Until the basis of power relationships in this world changes, until women cease to be regarded as the property of men, we will have to live in constant fear of being violated with impunity.

I am a survivor. I did not ask to be raped and I did not enjoy it. It was the worst torture I have ever known. Rape is not the woman’s fault, ever. This article is one contribution towards exploding the silence and the comfortable myths which we build up to convince ourselves we are not potential victims, thus consigning actual victims to the most agonizing isolation a human being can know.

 ( This article has been reproduced from archives of Manushi, and was written in 1983)

Today, Sohaila writes, reads and walks. She has published two novels, The Madwoman of Jogare and Year of the Tiger; three children’s books; and numerous short stories, essays, news reports, blogs, columns, manuals, and just about every form of written material, which is in direct contradiction to her devotion to trees. www.sohailaink.com

 

304 comments on ““I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape

    • Sohaila ! you brave girl, are a role model and can boost the morale of those who take the rape as stigma and are not in a position to reveal before the parents even. and in case of conceiving it is the poor mother who is also frightened from her husband and the girls father that she has to manage abortion of the conception. To cut it short sohaila,I had been purposing marshal arts i.e Judo krate,boxing as compulsory sport subject for the school girls to ward off such miscreants,I assure you that the rapist,the drug addicts won’t stand before such brave girls.Among the sikhs ,the baptised i.e Amrit dharees with small dagers(Kirpan)with them can use the weapons .there had been 2 examples in the immediate past the law executers i.e the plice chaps ,on their way to molest were made to run when the boxer girl at jammu came to herself and gave the police man punches.blows,he had to be saved by other police wallas with the words that he is drunk as if the drunkards are exempted from such mischiefs.

    • How do I react? Sieter, I’m unable to think what to say or write. Had I read this article back then I would go every evening to that place and search out those monsters. I would then do what any person would do to those animals. I’m extremely upset that the cops wrote such a report that you went out and “got delayed”. Upset also because I cannot do to those cops what those rapists did to you.

      • So, I am wondering if it is still possible to find these men and string them up. No fanfare. Just a good tree and some good rope. Invite the press with their cameras to maximize the deterrent effect. And maybe a little champagne to celebrate the Earth’s lessened burden.

  1. I am sorry about the atrocity being a man myself. I congratulate you for being bold. I would request you to send details to Justice Verma Commission at Delhi so that guilty policemen are punished. I applaud your sentiments that life is too precious. I am sure if all women share your feelings , the women will become bolder. Lots of feelings but no words.
    Nirmalkumar

    • I think that’s what rapists want to prevent. Women getting “bolder” and actually being in charge of their own lives.

      Rape is a weapon men use to remind women of “their place”, to remind uppity women who’s really in charge.

      If all men ostracised men who treat women disrespectfully, if they taught their sons by example that manhood has nothing to do with oppressing women, then women like Sohaila and Nirbhaya would not suffer horrendously so men could feel like men.

      But that would decrease their privileges a little, and few men want that. Women have suffered for centuries because our bodies are the blank slate which masculinity is carved out of.

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  3. I am sorry for what you had to go through and I congratulate you for the strength and courage you have. Thanks a lot for sharing. It inspires me. Let us make a better system where women don’t have to wait for justice and where no man dares to rape!

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    • Virtue? Are you actually trying to say that if a women is RAPED, she has no virtue? Does virtue only mean something to you if the women has never had sex? VIRTUE DOESNT MEAN SEX. Virtue is beign a human being. NO ONE asks to be raped. Do you?
      If at all, after all she’s been through and yet carrying on, not even becoming a misandrist, she has more virtues than most people in the world. NEVER equate virtue and what it is to be human with something like torture and rape.

      • If you visit dhwanis blog, it becomes clear she’s an Indian feminist. I think her mistake here was not putting “‘ marks around virtue. Most of her entries are sardonic in tone when pointing out the gender inequalities in Indian society and I think she intended the same when she said “virtue.” I think it might be a language barrier that lead to the misreading. (And I confess, I didn’t pick up the sarcasm at first either.)

      • Why, Don Palathara? Do you want Sohila to sit in a corner and weep? And wonder what is it that she as 17 year old do ‘wrong’? While the men who did what they did, wilfully and with great malice, and attempted to destroy a soul…and got away scotfree? Why? Please edify us, Oh learned one! I’m all ears!

      • Ok, I think I misunderstood you, Don. You were not saying this about Sohaila…..your comment shocked me utterly as I thought you meant that she was the curse! I read your views about the article later, upon scrolling down. My apologies……..

    • In the situation of rape, it is the rapist who lacks virtue, not the victim. Victims of rape, the women, are valuable human beings. Rapists are worthless garbage who should be tortured, lynched, dismembered and discarded on a rubbish heap. Rapists are demonic beings who should be destroyed. They are Ravanna. The victim is purest Sita. Where is Shri Ram? Where is Shri Hanuman, Shri Narasimha, Shri Durga to kill these vile demons? Anyone who believes that the victim is somehow guilty is himself a vile, soulless demon. Arise, oh, India, as Shri Ram, Shri Hanuman, Shri Durga and Shri Narasimha and show your wrath. May all rapist demons be removed as filth from the Earth.

    • certainly …life is more important ……. sexual intercourse is just a physical act….may be taken as beating..surgical operation etc………virtue is more of a higher mental,behavioral , socio psychological mind set up…

  6. I admire your courage and boldness,but the culprits are roaming in the society freely and may be fearless. there should be strict law enforcement into Indian law system and policemen should be equally punished and specially those who do not do there work.

  7. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this means to a lot of us. Your story is just so important and it is so vital that it be heard. Thank you for staying strong and giving hope to so so many of us.

  8. I am at loss of words at the bravery shown and the willingness to continue living, letting go of all the stigmas attached with such an incident. Salute you maam!!! You deserve it! Atleast a lot more than the people in our government who don’t deserve to be saluted.

  9. You are extraordinary to have so much mental power and give us such a clear picture.You are right we are raped everyday in some ways .We have the right to live without being afraid of being groped or jeered at every time we go out of our homes.

  10. what courage it takes to not take the easier way out and collapse in self pity, self-loathing and eventually silence especially in someone so young. Rape is a horrifying possibility for some of us women and a terrible reality for others. You inspire me with your joie de vivre, your strength of purpose and your retaining the ability to rationalize, to analyze and not let the tragedy destroy your soul. May you go from strength to strength sohaila and may we all live to see women in a place of security and strength and respect regardless of color, class, creed or dress.

  11. Two days back, when I wrote about how I am slowly getting over my fear of being raped, I was feeling very strong mentally. But a few hours back, a friend (after reading my blog: http://soniasarkar26.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/i-am-no-more-waiting-for-my-turn-to-get-raped/) said, “I don’t think you can compare a rape victim with any other crime. Yes getting maimed in a blast is very bad and had a life changing impact. But I think in very few cases a rape victim can move on from what happened to her. Even if I don’t take into account the social stigma, I don’t think life is ever ‘ back to normal’ for her. Being forced into a sexual act, especially by a gang is so demeaning and so humiliating, I don’t think one can ever get over it!”

    She is good friend, so her message had forced me to question myself once again, if I am really that strong? Will I really be able to cope with the trauma of a gang-rape, if that happens to me?. But Sohaila helped me regain my mental strength ……..she reminded me that rape has to be treated as another crime…

    This will, at least, help everyone to think positive…life is easier when we think positive……….god forbid, if anything as such ever happens to anyone, known to u even vaguely, u will be, at least, in a position to help her morally…tell her Sohaila’s story…..

  12. @ Nimit what do mean by’willingness to continue living’ as if she had to supress her desire to dies. Why would she or any rape survivor want to not live. Thats the whole point of the post. and there is no letting go of stigma as there is no stigma for surviving rape

    • ………..and I think, no one had ever desired to be dead. It is just a thought due to situations which generate feelings of shame, guilt and pain and suffering and not being able to handle them, the first thought to overcome them is through death, The desire to live always is strong and gives courage to walk through any mess of life, only the willingness to take help is required. God bless you all.

    • @PS…. i guess you didnt understand what i wrote. Many rape victims BELIEVE that it was their fault that the incident happened. *THIS IS WRONG*. To add to that, the society that we live in, be it men or women, always blame the girl. *ALSO WRONG* THIS is what I meant as stigma. The stigma attached to such an incident, and Sohaila here defied all that. Hence the salute. With respect to the “willingness to continue living” is self explanatory my friend. With the stigma attached, and absolute lack of support other than ones family, it eventually tends to take its toll and well, ending ones life seems like the best option. *WRONG* SHE defied all this.*ABSOLUTELY RIGHT* Hence my post contained such phrases. Be a bit open minded and you might understand what I wrote. Cheers PS!!!!

  13. Absolute grit and determination displayed by sohaila …. Kudos to you ….. agree with you 100% when you state that rape is never ever the woman’s fault …..it is a total violation of everything human !

  14. dear sohaila,
    i am more than ashamed at being a man and living in a country where men treat women this way. but more importantly i feel deep inside committed to never letting a patriarchal comment,thought be passed in front of me without me raising my voice against it. our society needs to condemn these thoughts and beliefs more than anything if we are to improve in any way.

  15. An eye opener for all of us a part of so called society……. Its absolutely amazing to see the courage of Sohaila Abdulal……

  16. Sohaila……it was a great article. Big eyeopener and I fully support you on the idea that Rape is just not limited to the sexual assault….Yes when a man looks at us with hungry eyes – its Rape, when we are denied rights or equality treatment in roads or our workplace because of our gender – its Rape! Its time we all women understand that any discrimination because of our gender is a Rape and we should do everything from tolerating it.

    Thanks for writing it. I will never send you sympathies because it will be an insult to your bravery nor will I try to empathise with you as I will NEVER be able to feel what you have felt, but I will for sure send you my salute for the courage that you hold and wish you the very best in your life. May you get the best in life because you deserve it to the fullest.

    Priyanka N

  17. i absolutely salute you cause writing the article and narrating it would have made you go through it all over again but you had the strength and courage do it!!!! for other people’s sake!!!!rapists should be given to pubic for better justice but here they arent even being charged of it!!!years have passed but the situation remains the same!!!!!

  18. @ Kractivist…Pls remove this Dark Red Bubbly Background its damn irritating while reading, its not some chocolate company website.

    • You’re an idiot! With the discussion taking place and the enormity of the issue, your gripe is against the friggin background? Why are you even here, clearly it is not to read or help incite change!

  19. Can there be a helpline for women who have undergone such a heinous act – where they are counselled and given the right direction to move forward legally? Can there be a community working for such a cause?

    • There does not seem to be any..don’t we see when ever such an eventuality comes these law executers police find the opportunity to grab money .In order to do that ,lacunas are kept in the FIR’s or diary reports to save the culprits. above all these law executers are morally so weak that they dare not go against the law without the pat of their political masters.Direction is from the polital masters,making money is their own trick and all that.

  20. I have no words to describe my horror at the way the system treated you after your ordeal. How can any human being so inherently lack empathy? Has the system desensitized people to such a great extent? I think having your daughters raped should be made part of police training just so you stop being the asshole that you so conveniently are.

    • And what did the daughters of the police do to deserve such a thing? While I understand your point, I disagree with your solution… you are wanting to use women as pawns in teaching men a lesson. Such patriarchal thinking. I think you missed the whole point of this article.

      • Yes ,you noble soul,the women will have to do for themselves and teaching lessons to we men folk.I wish you had read in one of the news of Jammu ,around 5 days back that a youngman on his way to molest a co passenger,the 23 year old girl.travelling in a mini bus No co passenger came to her help..It was on her getting down at her destination when the rogue got down to follow .Now the girl got hold of him and gave him punches on the face till it was blue. later when the youngman ,a police constable gt released it was relvealed that the girl was a boxer and had represented her province.so instead of hockey or any other game these girls should be adept at school level in the marshal arts to save themselves from the rogues.May be that lady police may be of some use. Self help is the first. the self confice,morale when seen from the eyes,a rascal,morally weak can hardly face the challenge even.

  21. Bravo..! Sohaila..Wish you all the best..God bless you. I am sure every girl, every woman would have undergone the kind of trauma of being raped in different ‘ ways “..! Women need to grow much much stronger..and remain stronger come what may..always…!

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  23. may you find eternal peace for you have suffered … now learn to put it squarely into your past …. its cathartic to forget and the best healing … allow yourself to lead another life. You will then forget that it ever happened to you for you have learnt many lessons. Talking about it constantly keeps it fresh in your mind …. let go of the victim state to heal completely. None of us can even begin to comprehend this type of injustice … but the most saddest part of it is … it is attracted to you through your thoughts. Do not be unkind to any gender …. healing is that God is equally a male and a female…. laws and truths of God work the same for everybody ….everything in life is based on the choices we make in our life via our thoughts …. I read some of your views on the patriachal system etc etc … they are not pro men and so the demons in men attacked you. Be kind … be good in thought … it is the only way to be safe from any outside attack … never judge another for that does come back to haunt. Mine was a painful task to guide you away from the people who misguide you with their comments. Empowerment of a person is to show them the way to being protected always … i.e. have God within you and him working for you on your side. This is the only way I know that you will be forever safe …. no matter you see a train coming at you at its fullest speed and you are unable to move … but guess what .. you are safe as you expect to be. I too am an author. Do read me .. it will be the way for you.

  24. You are a real brave woman Sohaila….Kudos to you…you are a real winner! I know unless someone has gone through this horror, it is impossible to feel what it must have been…and the fact that the culprits could get away with it – thanks to our police and judiciary. Thank you for sharing this, coming out and speaking about this, I know it takes a lot of courage. I refuse to be cynical, to just say, nothing will change- things have to change, and they will only when we speak out. You are an inspiration!

  25. Salute to you madam….you have done really a great fight and won it. quite inspiring!!!!!!!!
    The society value for women should be reformed soon.Men’s point of view, thinking about women should be changed. Rest Indian Patriarchy system!!!!!!!

  26. this is sick, this patriarchy things is like a shit pot … and along with rapists , its the police men who are equally culprits former one rapes you physically and later one emotionally !! and dats d resn people refrain to log complaint … i agree that life comes first and i totally with you with your decision … infact the fact is dat this society will never accept prostitutes but they will open thr arms for the men who visit brothels … !!
    Things needs to be changed , they just cant tell us how we supposed to live our livess … bloody idiotsss !!
    Stay blessed and Strong always !!

  27. Hats off to you…you are our youth icon…god bless you dear..
    I believe rapists should not be hanged…only their genitals should be chopped off…that’s it. They need to live and suffer. They shouldn’t be given such an easy punishment like hanging..no..

    • How is it that after the precedent explained by Sohaila you don’t know what o say?Buck up don’t think like that. To be a role model ,it is great! .Narrate what would you do in such an evantuality?If nothing else ,promise to learn boxing,Judo Krate and come to the help of such a victim if you find any in your future course of going around. Revise your self and promise to be brave like sohaila. .

  28. Sohaila, it is so easy to fall in self-pity mode. Respect for you. May you go from strength to strength. And yes, more than men it is patriarchy that has ruined the possibility of a just society

  29. I respect your bravery, courage and confidence, you have done the best in your situation and that’s what counts. You’re a true inspiration, the words are coming deep from my heart. It proves, yet again, that women are more stronger than men emotionally, you might break us physically once, but there’s no way you break our will to survive and rise against such monsters. Most men in India are irresponsible, unaware of in what direction their thoughts and language is going. They need to get the fact that even if i’m roaming around naked on the street, still no one has a right to rape me. That kind of respect and safety should be provided to women in India by the government and the citizens alike.

  30. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, is that people like you need to heard across the globe. You give everyone strength, you help them see light, you’re the true inspiration the whole world needs to fight back. And win.
    I hope your life will always remain happy and perfect. You deserve every bit of it.

  31. Alhamdulellah Sohaila – that you are alive – perhaps the grit and courage that every woman be made of. I am with you dear in this fight till the very end. Let me know how and where to contact you.

  32. Thank you for the honesty and courage it took to tell your story in this way. I am a psychotherapist in the US and have heard countless stories of women and girls who suffered increased trauma symptoms due to the ignorant reactions of others. We still need to educate the public more about sexual crime and remove the stigma. Survivors who are willing to expose their truth is one significant tool we can use. It also reduces the shame and isolation that many survivors feel following an assault. Thanks again for telling your story.

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  34. I salute you and admire your courage .
    But this bold nature is not shown by most of the Indian women especially the rural ones .
    So there should be severe punishments to the culprits .

  35. I’m truly ashamed to be an Indian male. The values and morals stay only in the books. The patriarchic society of India have always raped and abused women and they will until a proper revolution occurs. The kids grow up always learn to treat the women in their own family as second grade citizen. Now, after the Delhi incident, the hypocrites are blaming the dress-code of women. People with that kind of attitude are utterly pathetic. In India, religions and their Babylonian justice would never learn to respect women. Someone recently told me that 100% of females in India are abused in a way or another. Every female friend I had in India had some story to tell. Even though the majority are not rapists, their attitude is more supportive for the rapists than for the victims. Once spotted as a victim, that label stays with her forever. In many cases that were reported the girls were named after the place where it occurred . The media celebrates the stories just for their own financial benefits. The vast majority of religious, patriarchic, sexist, immoral, selfish and fake people of India would carry on treating women like shit for as long as they stay uneducated. I’m not talking about ‘official’ education. They won’t open their eyes unless it happens to their own family.

  36. Very relevant topic reposted…. Can we start an unemotional anlysis of the problem and action plan to curb it……
    I think problem becomes more affecting because of the social misconception…. we should first try to remove them….
    1] Rape is nothing more than Crime of Violence…
    2] Rape victim does not loose any human quality or virtue..
    3] Our protests and movements should purely to ensure legal and police systems in our country accepts this as serious crime and ensure stopping this.

  37. You are, like so many of us, an incredible survivor. I wish you all the luck and support in the world. Your bravery is inspiring. At the end of the day (though my own circumstances were nowhere near as brutal as yours, and though I was ashamedly nowhere near as brave) my thought was always this: “At least I’m not him.” That would be worse. Power to you.

  38. So brave. But you should have been careful… We live in a mad country where some men think that a woman is either a goddess or a whore. Dickheads.

    • Nivedita, yes, may be she should have been careful to be born,,, existence and freedom is a right of every human being and anybody interfering against those rights has to be outspoken, we live in a mad country because people like you and me constantly accepts this facts instead of standing against the the terror and injustice in our day to day life. Sorry to say but your statement is just as cowardly as those rapist,only straight blaming doesn’t stand here or there. One women like her courage and positiveness towards life, and one man acknowledging her pain in it’s all righteous virtue stands for a big hope to a future better society, hats off to you sohaila………….. and all those man and women both who has been trying to understand this extremely delicate and vulnerable issues of our society and stand out with their courage and hopes for building a better space for humanity.

  39. Feel sorry to b part of the same system in which these rapist live.though Sohaila inspires us to live and value of life…Congratulation Sohaila u are a Brave human

  40. God Bless you for the strength you have exhibited while crumbling within every day. You your entire being overflow with love and strength to keep you going and lighten the scars on your soul. With lots of love peace and warmth.
    From
    Just another human. Just another girl.

  41. I salute You Sohaila for your braveness to tell what ever happened that day which is like reliving that awful moment which will be very hard for you, i completely understand what you have gone through while writing this…. U r an inspiration to all out there….. Yes v r getting raped daily in lot other ways….

  42. You are a strong woman. And you are so right. Its really not the physical act of rape we should be worried about. Its the balance of power that never is in our favour. Its about men and yes, women too, wrapped up in the thinking that a woman is a lesser creature, that needs protection, and domination for guidance. Its the notion that every bad thing that happens to her, she invites on herself. And the most basic reason for rape is too teach the woman a lesson, of any sort, so she is taught by men physically, because they are stronger that way. How many times do men rape a woman they see and perceive as more successful or stronger or even unattainable? And this is a woman’s fault, according to these sick pigs. The world wont change overnight, though.

  43. I wish I could give you a hug. It’s amazing you were so strong and positive. It’s scary knowing a rapist can be anyone. You are one of the few people I will remember forever. Thank you for sharing, and I hope life has been so much more beautiful so far for you.

  44. Dear Sohalia,
    Thank you for your strength, your great will to survive and for making your voice heard.
    Your words will give all women strength, for as you say, rape is not always an undesired sexual activity! It is rape when our voices are taken away from us!
    I have great respect for you and for all women who are brave enough to stand up for themselves, who choose life, how horrid it might be, and make sure to let everyone know about the daily rape that women have to go through.

  45. Sohaila, it is the women like you which keep me hopeful. You are a brave, brave person. I wish you all the very best…..for in wishing you the best, I bless myself and all other women, too. Rape is a crime which flourishes in silence and in the guilt the victims are made to feel. Where is the doubt that rapists are extremely unevolved individuals? I have never understood the psyche which forgives the rapists and finds excuses for their behaviour…..and blames the victims. I find it incomprehensible. But I’m so proud of you. God bless!

  46. our world needs more women like u…dear….u r an inspiration 2 all….may u always b a shining light 2 all….

  47. I have been fondled, hugged and touched ‘down there’ as a child, by an elder male cousin. I had not even entered puberty then. The torture went on every time the cousin was in town and was living with us. I did not dare say anything to my parents since we were living in a joint family setup. Or maybe I did not have the balls to.
    It also happened once that my parents had to travel outstation and they left me and my younger sibling under the guardianship of this male cousin and his wife. Instead of being a parent he continued “playing” with me whenever I went to bed. I would be sleeping and suddenly would feel his hands inside my underwear.
    Anyway, it stopped when the joint family disintegrated.Till date, I have not been able to tell my parents about it. But now I am much more aggressive, fierce and confident. No man ever dares to touch me without my permission. Some people feel I hate men … no I do not hate men and I am not even a feminist. I do not trust the “animal” instincts of men. I am wary now and I would never ever let it happen with my daughter.

  48. While reading this article I felt a deep pain that a woman has to go through this ordeal. I felt ashamed of belonging to the male group of human beings. I felt ashamed of being born in such a patriarchial society. But in the end, I felt a tremenuous sense of respect for you, your indommitable and fighting spirit, your virtuos thought of not letting Rashid suffer even under such painful conditions. The fact that you do not blame all men speaks volumes of the purity of your thoughts and character. You are definitely one of the noblest soul and the highest example of the courageousness, morality in thought and action and virtue. I salute you and bow to you. My prayers that you be successful in your cause of women equality and justice to women.

  49. I salute you, what women need to know is complain, register cases of molestation, eve teasing, ppl say it doesn’t happen in south, but I strongly believe it does happen a lot in Indian society just that poplin southern India do not report such cases or am have not survived.

    Deal with boys on this issue on respecting women right from they come to awareness. A husband expects his wife to be quiet like his mother from a different generation behaved. Times change fashion change but expectation from a woman in our society will never change, why I being a woman blame a woman for this, we women are creating these standard set of expectations for ourselves and others.

    Do not feel ashamed I saying this that women don’t support women how can you expect a man? Also,police and the men in our society need to know that gone are the days when only prostitutes went out ith dark in search of clients, now it’s young India,it’s globalization, it’s development, women from all class walk in the dark to give their share of taxes to the government.

    I can’t imagine the degree of mental torture one goes after the incident as its been not a single day I’ve not thought of the Delhi case victim, and a sense of hate towards men and police arises naturally. Our society is not equal so are the jobs, we need more socialists, more therapists, not just docs and engineers who work for MNC’s and are too tired to think for their own country.

    Candle lighting is not a solution, ask government to provide proper public transport, to provide immediate help line, police patrolling on lonely roads.

    We do not have one place where we cawrite our concerns, we hit the road like its 1947.
    Breaking our own properties buses and trains. Vandalists take advantage of this opportunity. Our country portrays sex in a very wrong way, unlike west sex and love are different.

    A child needs to be spanked from kindergarten days when he disrespects a girl or teases her.

    Time and again I say it’s we who are responsible for this situation and our media I an greater way for covering politicians cricket and Bollywood on the front page, rape news is published in some corner of the news paper.

    What happened to the mother and daughter brutally raped in kurukshetra, a whole village was involved. Also what about women who get abused and raped by own in-laws.

    A office women get verbally abused but nobody reports with the fear of losing job. Worse when reported they simply say we are making issues, a mole out of a mountain and just ke it go. The police too behave the same, he is young let him go, his future will be lost. Heard such stories a lot. Wake up women, slap a man if he teases you or even purposefully bumps into you.

    I hate Indian men,they see women as objects for pleasure, cook and clean. Men in west are far more better, we Indian families need to learn from the west women how to bring up male child.

  50. Hi all, I am very happy to read so many frustrating and supportive comments from the men folk. We women are not weak, we can and we do fight back, but a little support from you guys we can go way far. I pray to all the people out there both men and women, please stop to help and voice out, it maybe on the road, in public places, public transport, etc. The other day, I was in a BMTC bus with a friend where the conductor was try to misbehave with a friend of mine and none of the co-passengers even spoke a word, all they did was look at us argue with the conductor who was having a fun time looking at us get frustrated and irritated. Please guy make a resolution in 2013 not to overlook any ones problem. Writing up comments and liking comments is okay, but please show ur support by backing a person before they become a victim. Gandhi once said, “The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night,we can say India has achieved independence”.We may have celebrated our 66th Independence, but we are not really Independent. I don’t know who our Delhi rape victim Dhamini is, i don’t even know her real name, but yes I cried for her and I am sure many of you also did. We cannot just her death be a passing cloud. We need to make a change.

  51. I cannot comprehend what you have gone through, for the first time in my life I am thinking beyond rape. I am always outraged at rapists, I want them dead. But not once in my life have I given a thought to what happens to a rape victim. This article changes my thought. May god bless you for living your life beyond that day, and may he give you the strength to continue in life.

    I will raise my kids to know all of this. Enough of educating girls, they seem to be the more mature people from all I can see. If I have a son I will want him to know that if he ever misbehaves with a girl I will hang him before going to jail myself.

  52. Pingback: Are we trying to threaten Indian women with rapes as punishment for modernity, independence and self reliance? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  53. I must say that this writeup has reinforced the fact that the law and order system in our country needs to really needs to tighten up ! ANYONE SHOULD THINK TEN TIMES BEFORE COMMITTING SUCH A HIDEOUS CRIME…

    • Think 10 times before committing such a hideous crime?

      One mustn’t even need to weigh the pros and cons, just with one thought (which shouldn’t exist in the first place) should know it’s wrong and that a woman is a mother, a woman is more human than a man.

      There shouldn’t be a question of thinking through 10 times whether one must rape or not. With one thought you must know not to, period.

  54. It was not your fault, they were just a bunch of assholes. They attacked you, and you did the right thing by reminding yourself over and over that it had never been about you. You are an incredible woman.

  55. Everytime I step out of my house, there are eyes watching me. It may be a guard, driver, servant, a uncle in a car or a young boy. On some days I choose to ignore, but on most days I get so ANGRY. WHY? The eyes are watching whether I am wearing a salwar kameez or jeans. They follow even if you are accompanied with your parents brothers or friends. Unfortunatly I understand that the men in our country are far from changing yet.
    The worst part is no matter what punishment to the guilty, a gang-rape victim will never get justice..Not here, not in India.
    The insanity and depth of what you went through, along with so many others (most of who struggle in silence due to the stigma), another person can and never will be understand.
    May you have continued strength and peace.

  56. Sohaila, What you endured is the worst moments of your life. I agree. But I must say that life after from what you have said is perhaps the strongest. I get your fear, anxiety and flinching. I completely get it. But what I see of you is a strong woman who lives in constant hope for herself and mankind. It takes one of a kind to do that. It takes a tremendous amount of inner peace and although on the surface you have your issues, what I see is a load of inner peace with what has happened. That acceptance is what has made you so strong. I am glad I read this blog. I have a lot more appreciation for my own life and a lot less angst for what has happened in my own. Thank you once again for sharing your life.

  57. WOW! You’ve come a long way Sohaila. We are so proud that you fought your fears and established a good life for yourself. An excellent example of strength and endurance you are, and we can all take inspiration from you about reincarnating our lives after surviving a difficult event. Cheers to you!

  58. Brilliant!! Your words give courage an hope to so many women. Life is more important than anything else and our system should realise that.

  59. Pingback: “I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape – lifeatwork

  60. i can’t even begin to imagine what amount of courage it would’ve taken for you to speak about it in a society where this subject is such a taboo. first of all i’m so happy you’re alive and survived , your presence of mind and courage is commendable . Your article gave me courage so thank you for that. One thing though i would request you to not let those guys go, you might save countless lives by writing about it but even more so by getting those animals behind bars. With the entire nation so charged up about this issue i implore you to go to the authorities go to the media but please file an FIR against those cops who failed you and of course those monsters. More power to you girl , continue inspiring :)

  61. I salute you. I could not agree with you more – the law and society sees victims of rape differently from victims of any other crime and this lies at the heart of the issue of effectively investigating the crime and bringing perpetrators to justice. There should not be shame for the victim of rape, only support and justice. I’m also struck by how little our society has changed since 30 years ago when the incident you describe took place. My deepest respect to you, and much love.

  62. Sohaila, I have no words, I am quite overcome by the power and honesty of your article, and your incredible resolve and love for life.

    • Aishwarya Mahapatra-from your very name I was expecting some thing very bold to boost the morale of the suffering women society but your putting every fault on them is no good.If we the men folk are indisciplined and weak people is it their fault?Not to drag it to much I would suggest you to change your version of advising your women community to learn marshal arts and teach we the men folk a lesson.Shaila way too is not bad. at least she has come out with the truth to fight out by writing a thesis on it.The law executing agency,you have seen,how much responsible they are?Women are got to helpthemselves and putting us to shame..
      Aishwaria Mahapatra,the word mahapatra reminds me of one brigadier mahapatra who had served in Nabha. Be brave lady,don’t feel small and be a morale booster.

  63. Reblogged this on opposehumantrafficking and commented:
    An amazing woman’s story and struggle battling the patriarchy of the Indian system and culture we have seen in the news recently as outraged activists march for change. “This article is one contribution towards exploding the silence and the comfortable myths which we build up to convince ourselves we are not potential victims, thus consigning actual victims to the most agonizing isolation a human being can know.”
    A must read… xxSian

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  66. Hat’s off to you Sohaila…I admire your bravery, courage and confidence, you have done the best in your situation and that’s what counts. You’re a true inspiration for women , the words are coming deep from my heart. It proves, time and again, that women are more stronger than men emotionally, you might break us physically once, but there’s no way you break our will to survive and rise against such monsters. Most men in India are irresponsible, unaware of in what direction their thoughts and language is going. They need to get the fact that even women are not commodity /body to be used, no one has a right to even touch her without her consent . That kind of respect and safety should be provided to women in India by the government and the citizens alike.

  67. You are a real WINNER. After reading this article, I have gone though your website and came to know more about you. No wonder, you are such a successful person in all spheres of life. Hatts off to you.

  68. Wish you the best.
    I feel it is time for introspection for each of us, and time to talk as a family and not hide under moral garbs.

  69. Wow, I am so glad for a person like Sohaila who realizes the value of life, where other’s simply throw the most precious gift away in suicide for silly reasons. But this whole thing is not about men v/s women. This whole thing is about humanity v/s ill mentality. Whether a woman or a man, whosoever is raped, Rape is a wrong doing committed by a “person” with a seriously bad or rather ignorant mindset. Its not for men to say here that we are ashamed of being men, or being men of India. First of all, those who wrote that should rather be proud that they are men or Indians with such sane and good mentality, they are people with humanness and therefore form good citizens. I say, I should be proud that they are men of India or whatever country, who understand and support good conscience and just principles. So far as the rest are concerned who are indifferent or have wrong logic like the people who raped or the people who were in the legal system, or police, their upbringing is only conditioned because of wrong notions spread, not out of religion, i repeat, not out of their original religious principles but out of those texts and knowledge books being interpreted wrongly, manipulated by power possessive people sitting on the religious texts to interpret it, who have, calling themselves the experts of the subject, manipulated the original texts to put their own interpretation to it just for the sake of conditioning young and impressionable minds making fanatics out of them in the name of god and religion so that they can do their divide and rule policy and be the monkey that eats away the cream while two cats are busy fighting over it. To have these people at their back and call in the name of God and religion, so that their power is maintained over them and to keep manipulated the mindset of uneducated masses so that they can taking the tool of religion, instigate them for their own personal gains. That is why, we as citizens should now start taking responsibility. How? We can start with education. One out of the million things that I have learnt from being with this organisation called Art of Living is that nothing is impossible if we start taking responsibility : Responsibility is taken, not given; Responsibility is directly proportional to power and that we are responsible for our action as well as inaction. So, taking Responsibility for the Society, We can either singly or making a group of friends and visit schools run by charitable institutes, visit slums or BMC and start helping them with their studies/ education, instill good values, read or tell them stories of great saints and wise men, and their teaching esp. chanakya stories are so impactful, and stories of unity and teachings of Gandhi and good spiritual beings of India, at least once a week if not daily, we can take responsibility of admission of street children in BMC shools or any day, visit slums. Sri Sri Ravishankar was asked this question that why are bad people successful in rioting and doing harm in the Society and ruling over good people. He replied that it is because of the inaction of the good people. He said bad people are only 20%, but they rule over the 80% good people because good people do not step up and act. The bad people they just stand up and act, whereas good people will first sit and think , then sit to plan and think, then again sit and think , and they will keep thinking.. SO, its necessary to act, but to act in the right direction. To act does not mean to take rash or illegal actions or become violently aggressive. But to be firm and calm and act towards and effective goal. I find myself very fortunate to have a platform to act. Sri Sri Ravishankar had established free slum schools and tribal schools, and a group of us volunteers living in city go to the Dharavi school every Saturday to help these first generation school going slum children with English and other subjects; and we also get to apply for giving seva (service) in Tribal schools for a certain time. I feel so lucky. We can go around meeting the slum people and encouraging them to send their children to the school where education, stationery, uniform, midday meals and facilities are given to them free of charge. Where we were even afraid to go talk to a beggar on a street, art of living’s DSN course broke all our barriers, and we were able to connect to sick people on the street and get some drug abused people to nearby facilities, some volunteers took up seva in the drug and alcohol rehab centers not just those of art of living but even other such organisations. Now, recently they are forming this “Volunteer for better India” where anyone, whether he/she be an art of living volunteer or not, can join hands for doing social work, spreading awareness on issues, motivating people to go vote, and taking up rallies for good causes,, even rape cases, and the recent Delhi gang rape case was also rallied by the Volunteer for Better India volunteers in Delhi. I am so happy such a platform is coming up where common man can also join. Sri Sri Ravishankarji was suggesting for making a “good people’s vote bank” and ordinary citizens like you and me to get together and spread the importance of voting. He explained that because these politicians think that their vote bank is only with the 20% of the population, they are making unfair and unequal policies to appease the minor 20%, but if 80% of the population stands up, even the purchased votes will be defeated by number. If a large population of people stand up in a group to question the action of a corrupt bureaucrat, or an indifferent police officer, its enough to shake them up. We can being in unity do a lot of things is what I learnt from taking up seva projects, taking the responsibility. Being in the profession that I am in, I have personally seen a change in the prisoners after they did the Art of Living’s PRISON SMART program and courses of Art of Living are free for police people which are off and on organised and God, there has been a huge shift in them after they did the course. I would say, that they were totally stress free and there was a total transformation in their consciousness. I know from experience and working with them that the police people not all are bad apples , generally there are good people but they are so much in stress and dejection because many a times they are under pressure to act in a way that they do not want to and public is always cursing them or blaming them. Then the desensitization happens. After the course they are sensitized, one course participant said hugging Sri Sri’s photo that I will never take bribes again. And yes, a person who has been traumatized, or raped or been subject to mental or physical abuse should learn the Sudarshan kriya technique of Sri Sri because it works so very fast to heal the person from emotional trauma and mental disturbances and they come out of the effects of their bad experiences very fast. Any person, including myself, when in stress immediately experienced becoming stress free and light after doing the Sudarshan Kriya. I would say that for rape victims, this is a great seva to do, to teach them the sudarshan Kriya. There is a lot of research done on it by AIMS and its there on the net. Every person can and should have a stress free, healthy life and the energy to do the social work and fight against social atrocities.

  70. This incident happened in 1983 – things haven’t changed very much at all in the intervening 30 years! And that is the shame we have to face as a nation. I too am a victim of rape, which happened a few years previous to Sohaila’s traumatic experience. It took me 25 years to speak about it and never did anything as brave to contribute to changing people’s attitude about it. And that is a regret I have to live with and take part of the blame for the fact that rape continues to occur with impunity in our country.

  71. Salutations,Sohaila.I take a bow to your courage of conviction,confidence & clear headed thinking.While I was reading I could not help but wonder..How truly a remarkable inspiration you are.Your steely resolve is awe inspiring.

  72. In response to this article and the recent brutal rapes in India, I say women need to stop allowing themselves to be cowed. We need to find our courage and become living, demon-slaying Durgas. Just as when women are empowered economically, a whole society benefits, so when more women become trained in self defense and are armed and dangerous to any and all potential assailants, all of society will become safer. Don’t become a victim. Always be prepared to fight back when attacked–with maiming or deadly force if necessary. To Indian women in particular I say, men as a whole are never going to give you your rights. You have to be prepared to take them and to stand your ground on your own if necessary. Become armed and dangerous, ladies. Perhaps you can form Durga brigades to pursue rapists and bring them to justice, i.e. hang them. Vengeance and vigilante justice are justified here where the police and courts do nothing. Jaya Shri Durga!

  73. I’m without words sad and angry after reading this story. Especially as I realize there must be countless similar things happening every day. Such evil lurks in this world and I feel helpless wishing I could help clean it up.

  74. I’m appalled at the “investigation” conducted by the police. Society as a whole needs to change its views. The current generation seems to understand this so that gives us some sort of hope.
    It might have taken a few tough years but in the end you were victorious. I salute you and your determination to succeed in life. :)

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  76. It’s shocking the way police treated this and let it go. This movement for stricter anti-rape laws should not stop until the society changes it’s views and learns to respect women.

  77. Respect!!
    Any girl / guy who has ever been molested in her / his life in any manner needs this article! This article is exceptional not only because it talks of strengthening a woman’s soul but also because it might help the victims to find their souls once again altogether!
    While we remain wishful to see law and order change in this country or in some cases perpetrators might be punsihed even, the real loss is of the soul, of that will to keep living.

    Sohaila,
    You’re are an embodiment of the saying,”They could kill the body, but not the Soul and the Spirit.”
    Respect and admiration!!

  78. If you are strong now!!! then go after those guys and make them pay for what they did to you. Just because a lowest level of police didn’t help doesn’t mean the whole legal system is messed up,

    Fight for your right !!!!! Make the legal system stronger so that nobody dares to do this again to anyone.

    No society in this world is perfect and people who face injustice posses the strength to REFORM the imperfection of the society ……

    Pen is mightier than a sword !!!!

    I DARE you to take action you are in US which means you are better than the rest of the girls/women who get raped in india……

  79. I’ll behave properly and I’ll tell my son/daughter to behave properly!!!!
    This should be the statement to be repeated and said loudly a thousand times by me, and if needed, my kids would need to write it and say it loudly a thousand times)
    And not ‘tell “your” son/ daughter….’ It sickens me of our attitude that the “other” is not good, while we ourselves are rotten within.

  80. Pingback: “I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape « Rags and Riches

  81. Congrats first of all on having the courage to stand up & win ur life back. Only when women all over have courage like you, will there be any true improvement. We can all blame governments & the police, but laws in place will only be effective if assaults are reported & dealt with properly & timely.

  82. Maybe – just maybe in your case you were helpless as probably there was no around who could have heard your cries for help up in the mountain. In the Delhi incident there was always a chance that a passing auto or car would hear the victims cries. So maybe the girl fought. Plus the girl’s nature – instinct would have egged her on. She wanted both TO LIVE and TO LIVE WITHOUT BEING RAPED. Anyway these cannot be compared. Your magnanimity in accepting your fate but winning by living life later is amazing. Shows that you had presence of mind. Could be that the men did not really want to kill…but shudder… the Delhi rapists seem different.

    Regarding wanting to live – it is not always possible that the men will not kill you even if you submit to their lust. It could be chance and fate. I remembered a story from Amar Chitra Katha’s mythology stories: punyakoti – a cow is cornered by a tiger and the cow begs the predator to let her go once and see her child. She promises that she will come back. Inspite of other cows asking punyakoti not to go – the creature goes ready to be eaten. The tiger is unable to believe that this noble cow is back and bounds away. I do no think these rapists murderers will do what the tiger did.

    If I am about to be robbed, I would give all I have to escape death. What was at stake – your life. And you were rational and courageous. You deserve respect. At times accidents happen and we move on but there are certain incidents that cause pain long after. For one a harsh word could haunt them for life while they may not bother about bigger losses. For others it could be different. We are all humans but we are all different. But you are more than a human being – you are a Goddess! I am really humbled and understand how lucky many of us are.

  83. 95-99% women have undergone sexual harassment in her life time atleast 2-3 times including me. We had a survey. But all the women instead of screaming, silently suffered and have not yet revealed this to her closest friend or relative. The woman feels there is fault in me. In future all the girls and women come forward bring to public notice irrespective of the places or situation they belong (It could be even in a flight)

  84. On the contrary to your initial assumptions, there are many studies showing resilience is one of the most important human characteristics. Suggest you to read “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert of Harvard.

  85. Sohaila Abdulali – just a question – would you ever consider coming back to india and trying to get justice after all these years ! justice – not just for the rapists but also for the police personnel who picked up your file . What the rapists did was horrible , but what the policemen did is even worse – they just kill the light of hope !! the police men should also be pulled up in cases like this .
    Sorry for what you went through , you really have been blessed with a lot of strength to overcome this , by our Lord . God bless you and all yours !

  86. I agree with ur views,i feel really proud of being a girl when i see that there girls like u around,who, still think of others and are so positive even after what happened, and i seriously feel ur spirit of being alive and not giving in the tortures of those monsters or even those assholes of police is what is victory and not their shame,but also their punishment,they were trying to bring u down,but by fighting and overcoming in such a positive way,u brought all of them down singlehandedly.
    It would sound very dramatic but i wud that by raping u,those assholes cud only give u pain n not take anything away from u as opposed to the male chauvenists idiotic n shameless view of that virginity. I truly believe that a girl virginity is only a tantrum created by some stupid people to give a man a power over women,why don’t they ever say that a man is raped and his life is spoilt by losing his virginity?
    But im seriously shocked over the police’s behavior,it is because of these fuckers that crimes like these are increasing because these people are not afraid of the police.
    If we start having stricter laws for such criminals such as impotency, and severe punishment n action against the police for harrassing not only rape victims,but also,victims of domestic violence,eveteasing and several other crimes against women,these crimes will surely stop.
    Also, when u said that we are oppressed or tied to be oppressed by men in everyday life,i totally agree,the only way to bring that down it is very imp that each and every girl starts thinking like u n start working for them n each other rather than ignoring or ADJUSTING,then only can we make this world realize,that women r equals.

  87. I have seen the mentality of normal, educated people when it come to views on women. You can cleary see the biased in the “galis” always used for mother, sister… I have never seen a gali for father. We are taught wrong things from day one, whether we are in U.S.A. or India or Japan or Europe. In short men are same everywhere. The only thing which make them little open minded is the fear of police and strict punishment. I have talked to many intellectuals who give lecture on women liberation.. but behind those lecture you see a monster. This monster is only hidden because of the fear of family, society and above all police. It is very hard fact. Whether the girl is wearing saree, burqa, jeans, suits, bikni, .. they are not safe.. Till the fear of punishment doesn’t go strong…. I guess also, we need to improve the mentality of the boys from small age, but who will change it.. After a mother is the one who is the first teacher of kids.. This issue is simple and complex. I have only few comments :
    a) Mother should teach kids to respect women
    b) Laws should be more strict
    c) Father should treat his wife and daughter with respect. So, that his son learns it.
    d) Society should outcaste the people who are sick. I can prove that most of my friends were ruined and destroyed by their bad friends (who were staying with those mentaly sick boys…) I may look stupid on this comment, but this is truth….
    e) Mentally disturbed people (over repeated girls harasment and other things) should be killed, because it is in their DNA. if their DNA propogate, in future ihe will be a rapist..
    f) Orphanage should be improved.
    e) Slums should be removed. maximum people who are involved in harrasing, eve-teasing, this crime and riots are from there..
    f) People should be made more busy in jobs…. G
    g) Improve living standards, it reduce frusturation and it improves mental health of people…
    h) Kill all minsters.. and change the system…
    i) girls should be taught self defence…

  88. You are brilliant and brave beyond words. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. What happened to you was incomprehensibly evil and painful. I cannot imagine what you must have gone through on that day and everyday after that. It should never happen to anyone. But sadly we live in a society were women go through horrifying experiences everyday. I am studying law and reading this raises many doubts in my head about the delivery of justice in our country.

  89. There are so many comments already, and all valid. Yet we have achieved nothing, absolutely no change. Life goes on, crime goes on … it has been for ages. WHO will change it, perhaps no one, but we should certainly protect ourselves … take no chances … I am writing how the present generation should the country towards the 5th generation after independence. The main point is that law should be simplified for easy prosecution.

  90. Sohilai isdmireyour forage and your parents courage in giving you so much stentgthto bear you’re very brave half the people don’t even know and the girls are not even aware that such horrific stupid people. Exist the next may be their own daughters they have no time to spend at knowing their own children girls are like pretty loveable flowers every one. Must read yor experience which you. Have related and very bravely told congratulation lots of love and blessings all girls must learn to fight sheilatalwar

  91. I am disappointed. I am saying this as a man. A man who does not believe in retaliation and revenge normally. Still for the torture and shame you went through, I just wish you found out at least one of those animals, by going back to them, and succeeded in cutting off his privates off forever – even if that meant a jail sentence for you (because our justice system works that way). Natural justice when real justice fails you. Sorry dear, I cant accept this behaviour, as a man. I dont care what a woman has to say about this. Because anyone does not know to respect a woman is worse than an animal. Even dogs take permission from bitches before climbing on them.

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  93. A very very significant post, indeed! Our tongues cannot run dry from heinous acts in society that oppresses women. In solidarity I unite with your activism and seek creative, intelligent and spiritual dialogue to ignite in the fight for social-political-cultural reforms.
    Keep inspiring, it reveals the humanness in being human! Cheers.

  94. You opened hearts of people to respond & do something about it. Lots have to be done to the legal system & the way woman are treated. Pray your story leads to better understanding on woman’s dignity & changes are done. I salute your will to survive such great torture of body & mind. Thank you very much for sharing. My heart bleeds for you & the many who went through like yourself.

  95. You have written well, thanks for sharing. Your courage has to be saluted. Cases like yours and the recent one in Delhi will help to polarise the right minded people in India towards building up and nurturing the right sort of attitude towards women. However, an equal onus is on women to help make the transition by standing up to any form of sexual molestation and standing together on this, whether in the name of feminism or modernism. I see the most difficult part being the lack of unity displayed among Indian women for a variety of reasons. Most are articulate, but are only willing to commit to a cause to a certain extent, many others just pretend as if nothing happened at all, even though they are victims of sexual molestation on almost a daily basis.

    I remember a friend of mine saying that wife beating no longer exists in modern India and used to happen in the past. She didn’t have a clue, and that was the sort of awareness her sons are going to grow up with. Things have changed recently due to social media and due to the traditional media now trying to catch up and sensationalize things as well. However, it is imperative for women to drive the movement forward and not allow men to hijack it. For one, most men in India have taken a “chance” on women in public places, crowded places, buses, trains and the like and will not be inclined to see that other men are punished. Even with a change of heart, they will still not be able to see it entirely from the woman’s perspective. That change must be driven by social awareness through articles such as this, and education in schools and colleges.

    There should be a clear distinction between a sexual molester and a law abiding man, and this distinction should be worth fighting for.

    Along with this, there has to be a constant pressure on the law agencies, to convict people for crimes they have committed. A higher percentage of conviction, even for cases that have made it to the courts (for a start), will ensure that a strong voice is sent out to the overall male population to curb their raging hormones.

    Courage might come at a price, but there is no more urgent need of the hour than for women folk to be courageous and stay courageous.

  96. Kudos to you ! Of course rape is not gender biased, nor it is wanted by someone. And definitely we are daily raped when we are suppressed, beaten, looked as an object or denied our rights. wishing you all the luck, love and life in coming future.

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  99. Salute you for this great story of fightback.
    The basic problem is seeing women as aliens and sex as some mystifying act of sin and pleasure. Our mindset is such that we place too large a value on an apology of a tissue called hymen. Life is more precious than anything else. I keep reading reports of women committing suicide after rape and it baffles me how the loss of a tissue from the body can motivate someone to take their own life. Rape is a heinous crime, no doubt, but it is more of a sickness of the mind of the rapists than their physical need. So why give up on life? Society was built to give our life a sense of order and purpose not to bind us in such blatantly wrong misconceptions. We should try to change our own mindset and start viewing women as another human being rather than an object of sex.

    • Harshit, no need to be so baffled, suicide has nothing to do with the hymen. It has to do with the very real traumatic pain the woman carries for the rest of her life. The pain of betrayal, of extreme violation, of never feeling safe in her own body. The loss of trust for family/society for not protecting or helping her. The loss of trust in herself for failure to protect herself. The nightmares, the loss of confidence and belief in oneself. The hopelessness and wondering if life will ever be normal again. All this can contribute to feeling like life is no longer living and you just want the pain to end. The physical pain of rape in minimal compared to the emotional pain of a lifetime after. Some women work through the pain enough that they are able to cope with everyday life. Others don’t have the support they need to work through it, and give up on life. It’s not something that just goes away after the crime is done. You are forever changed. Sometimes even that is painful…you wonder, who am I? I’m not the person I used to be, but am I more than this collection of pain? Just surviving and working through the pain day after day is consuming all my effort and energy…Have I accomplished anything good in the world? I used to laugh, I used to be happy, now if I laugh, it’s empty inside, I’m not feeling it, I’m faking it. Does anyone notice they are talking to an empty shell who is numb and cold inside? That is what it often feels like after being raped. Sometimes I think suicide is the easier choice…but living life even when nobody around you understands or feels your pain and you work through it alone, is far more challenging. Nothing to do with the hymen at all.

  100. Salute you & your spirit! YOU are the change that society needs.

    It’s clear nothing much has changed in last 30 years. And if we want to see the change even now, we have to bring it together. The system is not going to change on its own. Never!

    I don’t understand what holds back the judiciary system of India to provide the speedy trial of such cases. Is it just lack of funds? Why can’t government take it up high in priority list and why can’t we citizens force them to do so?

    Why can’t we have a centralized system to complaint/register such cases (over phone, email, written complaints, etc) without even going to local police stations? At least all the complaints will be captured.

    And if it’s just the lack of fund then let’s do a nationwide charity to fund it and FIX it.

  101. those cops and rapists will burn in hell if they r still alive,,,which i think they r not!!!!!!!!!!!am sure they r being burned right now also

  102. I do not have words to Explain my feelings after reading this.It is a mix of shame , anger and proud. It is matter of pride for us to have a brave like Sohaila . May God bless her.

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    • hey prakaash, if you or someone in your family gets robbed, badly beaten, or god forbid murdered, would it be okay to leave the criminals alone, assuming it was you people’s past life karma?!?! i mean its people like you “blaming the victim” and propagating the problem. I hope you are not raising your kids to be like you in anyway at all.

    • since u believe so much in karma here is a small advice – try to feel the pain of the others instead of blaming them for their sufferings. U never know if this might come back to you and result you in being all alone when god forbid something terrible happens in your life.

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  105. Pingback: “I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape « kracktivist | The Dented & Painted

  106. We all should learn the attitude you have towards life. It feels so bad that such worst incidents are happening in our society. The devils are all around us in may forms of near and dear also. Time has come to change the whole system where everybody can enjoy the freedom of life & we have to fight for it.

  107. I am sorry, this seems like a cooked up story because of the following reasons:
    Go to her website and see the about link:
    “She did her schooling in India, and moved to the United States with her family when she was 15. ”
    If she moved to US at age 15 how was she raped at age 17 at India..She is a fiction writer and needs attention to sell her books and make money..Really horrible to sya that how people go to such extreme to make money…

    • Vow Peter you were born with some kick ass mathematical skills (!!!!! ), if not an ounce of sensitivity ( :-/ ) ..i mean isn’t it amazing that you have directly jumped to the conclusion that it is a cooked up story because Sohaila moved to the US when she was 15 AND if you had even a slice of brain in your skull you would know that no woman would use SEXUAL ASSAULT as a reason to sell her books …you are disrespecting her in multiple ways possible …

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  110. Way To Go…!!!! wish U love and a gr8 life!!! Want to ask you ‘Will India ever change? Is there a ‘Will to change?’

  111. Brave Sohaila, I do agree that there is need to change the mindset of the law executors, society and media also. Police will have to be made responsive, sensitive, and responsible. They should take prompt action irrespective of jurisdiction in such cases. When the police start acting, then the public should also allow them to work. Society should not remain dependent on the police and should not wait for the police in case of emergency for medical aid. Victims of rape are humiliated not only by the police during investigation and interrogation, by the advocates during trials but also by the society particularly women throughout their lives.

  112. Reblogged this on Learning to Fly and commented:
    What a story. I hope this inspires someone to do something about this horrible thing. I hope the “leaders” in our country do something. at least one leader does something. I hope we get to read about more brave examples such as hers.

  113. “It is patriarchy I hate, and that incredible tissue of lies that say men are superior to women, men have rights which women should not have, men are our rightful conquerors.” <- Being a man, I detest this too.

  114. Pingback: “I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape | The Front foot

  115. Sohaila you are strength , you are light , you are an epitome of female power , you are inspiration.
    My stomach was twisting while reading your article and I want to physically harm your perpetrators. I wish you the best of luck in life and thank you for your indomitable spirit.

  116. Courageous and brave is what I can think of you!
    Death is always an easy out but surviving against the odds and learning to win is the most dynamic way you have shown in your fight!

  117. I must admit that at times i feel ashamed of being a Man. People often compare this act to animals, but i must say that animals also do not indulge in such act (“without consent”). Then is this act not worse than animal behavior?. The way our system has been designed that rape victims often find psychologically raped again and again after the event. Hats off to you for being brave. It is not an easy task.

  118. Pingback: “I Fought For My Life…And Won” – Sohaila Abdulali #mustread #Vaw #Rape | Charaiveti

  119. Congratulations to you Sohaila…..( I think you know for what I’m congratulating). Keep going. I hope that your word shall reach to people’s mind more faster than light.

  120. Has anyone ever told you that you are one strong woman! Thanks for sharing some moments of your life with us and please stay like this. You are an asset to the country.

  121. Hi, May be I’ll never say sorry to you, by saying this I don’t wana make you “the poor girl” You had a good fight….. The bad luck is in India….that girls are not treated as human being… though they are worshiped as DEVI…..I hope your massage is spreading every where in the whole world… And every girl should get inspiration from you…& understand the meaning of their lives…..

    Regards
    Sandeep

  122. You are a beautiful spirit Sohaila. Your voice and writing are reaching thousands and a global awakening has to take place to address many hidden issues.Its time women have to be Durga .We have to work in unity all over and change ourselves starting at our own homes and then move forward.Our education,political.Govt system has pimped itself and we need to break free and let them be the victim of there own misery.Together we can do it.

  123. Madam I am awestruck to read your story. Set in the context of 1983 I can only conclude that you have tremendous will power and strength of mind. Your parents response and mature attitude back at those times seems to me to be stupendous and mind boggling. Best wishes to you for all your future endeavours, you have one perennial fan in me!

  124. Three cheers to you for your bravery and willigness to share your story…This will give strength to many women in our society. God bless you…

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  128. I still remember a talk by our female professors on Date Rape.She asked us all(Class of first year BSc students both girls and boys) a question (directed to the girls only) –Would you rather be raped or would you choose your life and not retaliate ?And almost every girl in that class chose death? And I still remember a guy commenting that so if you do choose not to retaliate that means you are saying that she rather enjoy it ? I don’t know whether we should call it a patriarchal society which makes everything so complicated for us “women” .But it also depends on how as individuals we perceive a particular situation.Most of us would rather die than get raped, only because of the fact that our virginity is perceived to be what we are worth.I mean yes this kind of thinking can be attributed to the whole patriarchal dominance hovering over our minds since childhood but what is all that education worth if we fail to really get educated in the process and just earn certificates of merit and literacy instead.This talk was held in a very reputed college and most of them are broadminded cool people who study here or rather that is what they profess they are.So we can just blame it on systems of thinking,tradition,culture ,religion etc but that would never solve the problem because the problem lies within us ,within how we really want to shape our thinking.I think that as individuals we love being ignorant and we need to overcome that.We need to help ourselves just like Sohaila did!

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  130. I find myself at loss of words to describe the pain and loss you have faced. i respect you highly for the way you have presented your point.

    the points you have ALSO highlighted is to be noted.
    “MEN” are not the only ones to be blamed for this and they are only not to be hated and viewed as potential rapist.
    there is a life after RAPE though i agree very easily said in words –but yes there is a life after it.

  131. you survived after-effects of incidents in 1983 society but some don’t survive even today… no doubt you are a brave women … but i feel that something that defeated that society aftereffects, needs to be passed on to generations. Every incident brings out flaws in how sexes associate to each other ….. and must be curbed with force anger

    women certainly are braver than men in present Indian society… eg. a girl wrote some thing abt raj thakkre … and she and her family were suffered the caused.. her uncle hospital was thrashed … no a single man came to rescue…. u cant win a women heart with force and u cant win force with compassion… wen they were thrashing that hospital … there had to exists a force that could stop it that time… if our parents and my dad say son we have to stop it today… if that is the start end is certainly predictable

  132. Pingback: Rape an epidemic in India: Nirbhaya,the Girl who shook India. - Page 150

  133. “…was the worst torture I have ever known. Rape is not the woman’s fault, ever. This article is one contribution towards exploding…” – Abdulali S. 1983
    Even after three years of revelation, the author is still under the impression that a rape can only be committed by a man. She chooses to remain convinced that women are indeed weaker. This statement is but a reflection of the rampant Patriarchy in the authors mind. Patriarchy is ingrained in our system and will not be conquered by empty words. It will need action in part of the enlightened. The enlightened who are free of Patriarchy. The enlightened, one of which the author should strive to be.
    I totally support the author in standing against this evil. But I feel a more holistic approach, starting from your own mind would be more effective than starting a convoluted blame game.

  134. my dear child, forget all those things just like an accident occured, when you were going in a two wheeler or car. Keep going in your life. God is with you.

  135. I am a victim, i was raped twice, 1st my neighbour and then three cops, i was little back then, their faces, they all still haunt me, i feel like killing myself sometimes, i cannot go to public place, i feel scared.. but living my life somehow. i never told anyone about what happened with me, no one will be by my side, i feel broken and have to feel this pain till the time i take my last breath..

  136. Thanks for sharing this article. As a woman I feel so much more powerful just reading this stuff. I am a very strong feminist myself, and my blood boils even if a man looks at me in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I cant imagine what you have gone through, but it is wonderful knowing that you are brave enough to not need mine or anyone’s sympathy. We need more women like you in this world. Thanks for sharing your story that can teach us all so much …. thanks for making sure that ur struggle didn’t go waste.

  137. Firstly, I honestly applaud you! You are truly inspirational! I would like to ask you how you would propose to change the patriarchal world we live in. I for one can’t think of much, Sohaila, I really want to help in the fight to change the attitudes of people but how do we do it?

  138. Hello,
    this is a very amazing article.
    I myself am writing an article right now about how there is a fluid line between light harassment and strong harassment, then between strong harassment and coercive, but non-violent forms of rape. But also the between coercive non-violent rape and completely consensual sex. It’s very easy for people to shrug of the implications of their pursuasion, and that is a very slippery slope..
    It is hard to commit these things clearly to paper, I am talking to several people about this while trying to give the article a form.

    In any case, I feel like Sohaila said these things clearly already thirty years ago in the following paragraphs: “Why compartmentalize rape ? Why assume rape is only an unwanted act of intercourse ? Are we not raped every day when we walk down the street and are leered at ? Are we not raped when we are treated as sex objects, denied our rights, oppressed in so many ways ? The oppression of women cannot be analysed unidimensionally. For example, a class analysis is very important, but it does not explain why most rapes occur within one’s own class

    As long as women are oppressed in various ways, all women will continue to be vulnerable to rape. We must stop mystifying rape. We must acknowledge its existence all round us, and the various forms it takes. We must stop shrouding it in secrecy, and must see it for what it is — a crime of violence in which the rapist is the criminal.”

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  141. Hey,
    This is a really touching story and also horrifying when it comes to the bullshit that cops and society say to a victim. Your story hits real close to home since i live in chembur as well. Its shocking when you hear or read about things that happen so close to home. This is a truly inspirational story to any other victim out there who thinks that its better to have died than to have survived. As you very rightly said ‘Life is way more precious than your virginity’. And the minute you overcome the stigmas of society when it comes to rape, you will feel a huge weight lifted off of your chest and your life may become a little easier to live.

  142. Congratulations Sohaila, you are definitely a winner. After all you went through, you managed to overcome all that pain, all that suffering, fear, and give a lesson for the world. Thanks for sharing your story!

  143. Thanks for sharing your story… I hope it brings some change to the mindsets of people, atleast we women should think that we are of more value to this world than our virginity. Yes, getting raped is one of the most torturous acts of crime, it does something that might never heal, but I hope that people understand that it DOES NOT take away a woman’s dignity.

  144. Sohaila I cannot begin to imagine what you went through. But your voice is sure to inspire everyone of us to think about issues which we always see as outsiders. Thankyou is all I want to say to you

  145. Shame on the kind of social environment we are cultivating which justifies sick pervert men who are justified to be criminal if they find any woman alone. And they consider themselves the flagbearer of civilization and culture! What is this civilization and culture here we are talking about? Shame on us for being such a society.

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  148. Yes you are a survivor. You have fought a great battle. I feel honoured to know you even if through your blog only. Only a courageous person like you can do it. I value your understanding of the problem. We will fight it out , all of us together.

  149. Omg… This sent a chill down my spine. Our worl hasn’t changed one bit in 20 yrs. Women still get raped n told its their fault. Cops are still supremely insensitive. What progress are we tom tomming to the world?! Shameful.

    Sohaila…I salute u for ur strength! God bless.

  150. Omg… This sent a chill down my spine. Our worl hasn’t changed one bit in 20 yrs. Women still get raped n told its their fault. Cops are still supremely insensitive. What progress are we tom tomming to the world?! Shameful.

    Sohaila…I salute u for ur strenght! God bless.

  151. How unfortunate that India still has not changed, from 1983 to 2013 – one new rape incident, one more form of torture, every day.
    Hats off to Sohaila for her courage. Life is not easy for the victims, but to continue to live with dignity defines the strength of the person.

  152. Reblogged this on Vishal Bheeroo and commented:
    It’s an eye-opener and need to reblog it in some way to spread awareness on the problem of rape and on how with our attitudes, we try to make the victim feel guilt. Our society is a shameless one. The person who was raped did not invited rape and when will we understand that. We call ourselves humans but animals are better than us. I admire the gut and courage of the lady.

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  154. Brilliant article though there is something I would like to mention. I indeed feel rape is the worst form of crime that only a coward would commit and do not feel that no woman should go through this ordeal. I would do everything in my power to ensure that this does not happen to my near and dear ones for that matter any woman at all. BUT since the writer claims to be a feminist I would like to ask her that does she not feel in the post 2000s era feminism is widely misunderstood by the women folk of India and it is merely a banner absolutely normal women with picture perfect lives rally under for their own selfish purposes.
    I mean this new wave of feminism has put men at a great disadvantage. Men like myself respect women and admire women but do believe that men and women have specific roles to life. There are some things which men are good at and some women. The issue comes when women use feminism when it suits them but will be the first people to run to a man for shelter when things are not going their way. In short i do believe that women and men are equal and meant to be equal. But this does in now way mean they are identical. I do respect all women who campaign for women’s rights but there is also a growing trend of pseudo feminism which is nothing more than women cheating in the race of life.

    I am in no way justifying rape. It is indeed the most heinous crime. But a more silent form of crime against men that is fairly rampant needs wider exposure.

    Regards

  155. I know it ,that no word in any dictionary can compensate, but these writing will change mind of at least .00000001% human in this world,,,and thats an achievement.

  156. Thank you immensely for voicing every feeling I have for rape, even though I was not raped. Thank you to your family for being a huge part in rape not defining you. When you wrote this article I was all of 6 years old. More than 30 years later, a lot still needs changing in our society regarding rape. Thank you for every day you live your life.

  157. It takes guts to live life loud like you. Hats off. And what you say is so true. Hope every woman understands what is her worth. Every time a girl goes and meets a guy for talking for arranged marriage, even there she is treated as an object of sex only. hope people can actually see the broader picture over here. Please girls do not stop living and do not live for the society. Live for yourself first.

  158. True, rape is a horrible experience but worst is feeling what victim of rape feel because of the society. We need to change the criteria of looking rape. victim, and rapist. We need to change society and fortify our laws against all those scavengers who are roaming around free and bringing bad name to society.

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  160. You are very courageous !!! This made me think how disheartened I feel due to some petty perceived slights of other people. It takes me days to get them out of my head. It makes me feel how difficult it must have been to live down such an attack and come out victorious What a great strength of character it will require. Kudos to you and your parents !!

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  162. One has to be courageous enough to prevent and prove if men are getting brutal, women are no longer weaker. I salute Sohaila for the courage she has shown and gave us a learning . We all shall have to stand and fight against this brutality. Get our children well versed with Judo Karate/ marshal art. DOnt fear. We all know Indian system is not worth. And its true. it is worthless if we are xpecting any positive outcome or a strict law against rapists. Everyday N no. of rape cases are being but no hearing untill n unless it gets a media hype. There is NO HEARING here. Be like Sohaila. Be strong enough. I dont know how come men cant control over a fraction of libido and they become so harsh n forced to do such heinous act. There is no other solution except being strong for women. M sure such examples will b a great help for all of us.

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  173. there’s the other aspect of ‘accepting rape’ that’s creeped into our societies now, families dont allow women to move out after dark, they restrict travelling alone, its like purdah system all over again. i think accepting rape should be focused more on educating the illiterate immoral man rather than being considerate for the victim.

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