‘In our families, we don’t take this kind of thing outside,’

He made bobo on my zheezhee (hurt my genitals).”
He put something filthy in my mouth.”
This is a nice uncle” (looking at a photo of a movie star) “Will he do bobo to me too?”
“I should have heard, I should have known,” says her mother, “…the fog of denial was just so strong.” (says the mother)

According to the medical examinations, the three year old had been a victim of ongoing sexual abuse, rape, sodomy. According to the chargesheet prepared by the Bangalore police, the perpetrator is Isabel’s father, Pascal Mazurier.

But.

They (the police) …accused her of media hunger and racism against the French, and demanded she reveal if she had been abused as a child. “I can’t decide if the police are antagonistic or only insensitive,” she says, “…whether they have been bribed, or if this is just the way they are with everyone.”

“It is now easy for me to understand why women do not come out when such things happen in their homes,” says Jones, “why women in these situations are driven to take their own lives.”

And we have heard this before,

“Somehow,” she says, “he didn’t fit my image of an abusive husband. He always used to say he was so sorry, and otherwise he was wonderful.”

“I made myself quite small in our marriage,” she says, “I thought he was amazing and I was nobody. I let him decide things, even things like who the children could or could not play with. It was subtle, but he was the boss.”

***

Click below to read the article,

“If a woman gets raped, it is her fault, if a girl gets raped, it is the mother’s fault”  

Link shared by Sandhya with this message,

Hi IHM,

Not sure if you have read this. It is about the French Consulate Employee accused of raping his 3 yr old daughter. The mother, Suja Jones, shares the trauma she went through and going through after she had her husband arrested, who is now on bail I suppose. She tells how she receives death threats, her inlaws accuse her of having ‘dirty, obese children’ who are not cared for. She is described as a ‘party animal’. She is supposed to have accused her husband for all this because she did not want to join him on his assignment in Cape Town. A fake facebook page has been opened in her name to defame her. She is now struggling financially. She is finding to difficult to find a house to rent. Thankfully the little girl is coping well. God bless her. Now what I find a bit disturbing is Suja Jones says “If a woman gets raped, it is her fault, if a girl gets raped, it is the mother’s fault”. Neither the woman nor the girl can be blamed. It is the rapist’s fault. I was wondering is this the very mindset of our people that results in victim blaming? Why is rape considered a ‘fault’?

Sandhya

38 thoughts on “‘In our families, we don’t take this kind of thing outside,’

  1. this mindset is what makes mothers react so cruelly/harmfully when their children come out with abuse experiences😦 after all, they are human and the possibility of society ‘branding’ them, scares them into hushing up the child and shoving it under the carpet ..

    as for the ‘fault’ in rape/abuse, someone has to be blamed and since the society refuses to deal with their inadequacy, it feels compelled to shift the blame on someone – and who better than a woman?? Patriarchy applauds, society feels content at their *swift action* and the rest (complacent and insensitive morons) sit back and watch the show ..

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  2. What a terrible terrible story. Of course, our police performed admirably. I wish someone would bring a civil suit against the police for their behaviour in this. Requiring the little girl to go through an invasive test again, why? Why are they never punished? A civil suit would be expensive and tiring, but wish a fund could be set up. That might be one way to put the fear into the police and set a precedent forever.

    And the French embassy, terrible. Isabel is French too, why didn’t they ensure maintenance is paid to the mother for looking after the children instead of letting the father empty all his funds?

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    • True.From the article, the officials at the French consulate seem to be putting all their energy into protecting their employee. Despite the fact that the victim is also French.
      Other disturbing threads-the attitude of Bangalore police, the ‘blame game’ trying to shift the onus onto the mother,the great landlords of Bangalore who are turning Suja away, and the Mens Rights activists who are trying to carry on some sort of hate/smear campaign.
      These things bother me more than the actual crime. The long, hard, bitter path that awaits a victim of a sexual crime, and his/her family in many countries- it’s a shame.

      Like

  3. It beats me how a mother can hush up and silence the hurt the child has gone through. Even animals protect their kids so fiercely. Try going near a kitten when its mother is around. Gosh! I wonder what all has changed in basic nature of humans through the acts or fear of society.

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  4. Ironically the silence about cases like these the “we do not speak about…” spills over every where.So many of my educated and aware friends who write so much and are open to discussions about every important current issue- Indo-china border dispute,Sarabjit and Indo-Pak diplomacy,Sikh riots 1984,rapes of little girls on the rise ,none of them had anything to say when I shared THIS STORY with them through facebook.

    I later realized maybe it is politically incorrect to speak about incest in public,maybe looking the other way is so much easier.

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    • That’s what the Satyamev Jayate episode on child sexual abuse did as well. Conveniently forgot to mention incest.
      Despite the fact that 50% of abusers are people in a position of trust with these kids.
      The figure of 50% is from the SAME report they quoted the other figures from. It seemed like a deliberate omission to me.

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      • In fact that is one of the things which bothered me too,what about immediate family members as abusers, no one talks about fathers,brothers and husbands that way in a patriarchal system,that is the unwritten rule.

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    • I couldn’t write about this either. not because i want to pretend it doesn’t exist but because i wouldn’t know what to say. a) I’d get too emotional b) I can’t fathom the motivation behind abusing a child.

      just another waybof looking at it.

      Like

    • I agree. Just talking about these things in the third person makes people distinctly uncomfortable. They look at you and frown as if, “Why do you have to bring this up now and spoil the pleasant atmosphere?” This little girl SUFFERED, was ALLOWED TO SUFFER, and if that doesn’t make people angry or sad or baffled, then, I don’t know what to say. Little surprise then that the families (who are much closer to the problem) have trouble facing it.

      Like

    • This story has got nothing to do with incest. It is about sexual assault, that too on a minor. Incest is between consenting people and so it shouldn’t be illegal. If any one of the persons involved is forced against his or her will and consent, it becomes rape or sexual assault irrespective of the relationship between the victim and the accused.

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      • Incest doesn’t necessarily have to be consensual sexual relationships, sexual abuse of children by someone related to them is also incest. I would argue incest is actually worse (emotionally and psychologically) for the child because he or she is supposed to trust (and love and respect, etc.) the adult that victimizes them.

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        • I used ‘incest’ as a synonym for ‘sexual abuse of a family member by another family member’. I looked it up and incest just describes the act/relationship, irrespective of consent. So , perhaps my usage of the term was misleading. My point still stands. The report used by the makers of that episode contained a disturbing statistic that half of all abusers are people close to the children. Yet, it found no mention on the show. I appreciate the effort behind the episode, but felt it knowingly avoided this inconvenient truth.

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  5. This is a terrible story. I cannot believe that the Indian police is so ready to screw over a fellow citizen in favor of a French national who’s raped his own daughter. If the same crime had been committed by an Indian national in France, I don’t see the French police accusing the wife of racism against Indians.

    Does it have to do with the fact that she married a French person over an Indian? In other fiercely patriarchal cultures, women who marry outside their ethnic group are pretty much ostracized.

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      • Most people will have something to say even when a woman marries within the community. It is enough to be a woman to get talked about.

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    • I think it is less about marrying a foreigner in this case at least, and more about the perception of a “woman like her” – modern, dressed a certain way, living a certain lifestyle – and the power of those opposing her (the French consulate, for example, which the police saw fit to consult in case in has diplomatic immunity).

      Like

  6. I just read this story and my fingers are still trembling as i write this comment. It’s very very difficult to accept that such terrible crimes happen in the very society we are a part of. On the other hand it’s so easy to look away and pretend it never happened.

    But if we want a better and just society to become a reality, we have to fight this urge to look away, we need to speak up and give a clear message that we have no place for such monsters in our society, that the people will help the little girl and her mother to rebuild their lives and we will not let anyone stop them from being happy.. I feel so proud of this brave woman for doing what is right by her daughter.

    Like

  7. “When a woman is raped,” says 38-year-old Jones, who was born and raised in Calcutta, “it is her own fault. When a little girl is raped, it is the mother’s fault.”

    I hope Suja Jones is sarcastic when she said that.

    The attitude of the police is terrible. And of people too when they come up with a Facebook page against the mother and slap the father. Why is that the reaction of people/police is always on the extremes.

    Like

  8. Why did the police harass the mother?? She’s already going through hell. Why are they behaving like sadists? Can she file a case against them? More money, time, and effort from an already overburdened mother, I know, but if someone can actually get the police arrested and convicted for their crimes, we will see them become more cautious with their misuse of power.
    India’s police are actually compounding the problems, doing direct damage – recently Bhagwad was talking about police reforms – I agree we really need those. Our so called “anarchy” is in some ways really no different from a repressed, totalitarian government – those with authority can do anything they want and get away with it.

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  9. “and demanded she reveal if she had been abused as a child”

    I genuinely don’t understand why they would ask her this question in an accusatory manner. Even if she was abused herself as a child, what does this have to do with her husband assaulting her daughter?!

    How are the police capable of such a lack of basic human empathy? Although I wonder if this is about some deep seated gender bias at play. It reminds me of IHM’s post about judges giving harsher penalties to people who kidnap/ murder boys than girls. I also recently read about some analysis from the UK that said that armed robbery convicts often get harsher sentences than pedophiles and sex offenders, although this was not an exhaustive study. Does patriarchy impair people’s ability to empathise with girl children or sexual assault victims?

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  10. when someone said , It takes a village to raise a child into a man/woman . she was more than 100 % right.

    so the rapist was conditioned to rape a child by the village (societal and traditonal mores, norms, attitudes, cultural and traditional education , religion perhaps – ( oh ya devdasiss and priests, we all know that phenomena)
    So who should take the blame – the village or the rapist ?

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  11. I used the word incest because it was used somwhere in the statements by the mother in the article.In my personal opinion yes this is sexual violence within the family and when the victim is a child it is the worse it can be.
    But my point is the issue should not be lost in lexical battles.

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  12. The entire article was sad and disturbing. A couple of thing stood out to me:

    – The attitude of our public institutions – Why am I not surprised though. With every single case like this, the police involved should not be suspended but lose their jobs. And there needs to be some training on what to do and how to do. Don’t they get that before they start work?
    – Underlying all these issues, is something I noticed – Extremely low self esteem and under valuation of the woman by herself – She thought she was inferior to the guy – because he was a guy? Because he was a caucasian and she Indian? Then on what footing did the relationship go on?
    – He seemed or developed into a classic abuser. She lived with that abuse.
    – She was clearly abused and this broke her down and made her live in denial. She also, needs to
    undergo some counselling for abusive relationships
    – It is sad that our very strong self protection and protection of the child mechanisms are ridden over by societal pressures.
    – If she is a French citizen, then, it would be best to go to France and battle it out instead of having to deal with people and institutions here
    – I hope her already battered self esteem does not take a nose dive when she realises how she let her husband abuse her daughter and make her feel like an incapable mother.

    Like

    • From the same article, this is what Suja Jones said:

      “I thought he was amazing and I was nobody. I let him decide things, even things like who the children could or could not play with. It was subtle, but he was the boss.”

      It clearly shows that she had come under the belief that he is the boss and she is a nobody..

      I wonder how and why she came to think so

      Like

      • Have you seen our TV soaps and the way the women behave with their husbands? Patriarchy forces a woman to have such beliefs. Years and years of conditioning….first by parents, then by In laws…such beliefs become ingrained. We need a revolution to change this mindset.

        Like

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  14. People do not have the guts to blame the rapist…they only have the guts to blame the victim. People are not comfortable talking about incest because our culture says parents and elders are Gods…and Gods can do no harm…..so they prefer to brush everything under the carpet and keep blabbering about “athithi devo bhava, pitr devo bhava” and such nonsense.

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  15. read the article in open magazine again and scroll below. Mist comments here seem to suggest that tu all beleive her Story. Think. A Person who lives to dance, party, mrrya via foreigner is not the personality type to be subjugated and become a nobody. She is playing victim yneacce. Moadulthal, an

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  17. Pingback: “And when I told her about his abusing me she didn’t believe me. Now here I am all alone, deprived of the love of parents.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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