This society is like a paradigm of patriarchal politics that suffocates women, aligning itself as the center. Women have been subjugated since ages, still, don’t dare to go against the grain. While growing up, I saw a patriarchal cliche in my house, without even understanding it. I experienced it when my father came home late and got violent with my mother. It was one of those nights when I, a 10-year-old got up at midnight, realizing that my mother was slapped a few minutes back. I couldn’t understand those nights, as I do now. Now I do understand, what my father NEEDED those nights. He NEEDED SEX.
I am a grown-up woman now, and I completely understand the structure and fragility of my mother’s body. She is a mother of three daughters. Needless to say, she has gone through few miscarriages, all in hope for a son. I had heard my relatives saying, a family is always incomplete without a son. Fortunately, my parents failed to have one.
Periods, forced sex, labor pain, miscarriages were not enough for her. She got bumped into slipped (herniated) disc, a condition which refers to a problem with a rubbery disc between the spinal bones. She couldn’t get up without a help, and I was her help at 10 years of age. In the midst of all, I couldn’t understand the aggression of my father.
It’s a question that stuck with me. Did my mother owe sex to my father? Did my father have right to force himself on her? Were those violent nights were a consequence of trying to say ‘No’ to my father? Who was responsible, my father, mother or the way this society has raised them?
My parents are middle-aged now. Their experiences in life are evolving, so is their relationship. But this doesn’t lessen the crime that my father has committed, knowingly or unknowingly. Being a grown-up woman myself, I understand the humility, and pain comes with forceful sex. It doesn’t come as a duty, and obligation but like a guilt of not fulfilling those obligations. It takes away a woman’s self- respect, and pride. It takes away her rights not only over her body but over her marital relationship. My mother, just like many other women in the society, was a slave, got married to procreate, and fulfilling husband’s sexual desires.
It makes me think of the demands usually made by husbands. They expect their wives to be the mother to their babies, a motherly wife who feeds them thrice a day, and a seductress at night, who wears sexy lingerie and lures them (men) to have sex with them. They want their wives to ask for sex. Was my mother, failing to fulfill these expectations? No, she wasn’t failing but my father failed to do so. He failed to be a supportive husband. He failed to empathize with the pain comes with motherhood and household responsibilities. He even failed to understand that my mother needed some open space, freedom, and time to get back to herself after delivering three babies, and miscarriages.
My father is evolving now, considering his old age, I do not question him. But I do not forgive him, either. My mother still cries remembering those years and considers herself a survivor. But I rather call her a warrior that I never want to be in my life. All I am certain of now is that we need to realize that whether our mothers share it or not, but they never owed sex to our fathers. Instead, our fathers owed gratitude to our mothers.