Was I Raped?

** trigger warning – Please read gently as this post may upset you**

Arriving home from work is just like any other day. The routine never changes: eat dinner; do the dishes; iron the clothes for the next day and then, it is time for bed.

My body tenses as I make my way to the bed. I want to be invisible so he doesn’t notice that I am in bed. I lay there and wish for a deep sleep; I wish for becoming unconscious but the sleep fairy doesn’t come to me. I dread what is about to happen to me. I know it’s coming as I hear him come to bed.

I am not sure how he judges my mood; I don’t know what makes him think that I am open and receptive and desiring.

Maybe my emotional state doesn’t matter to him…

His routine is very predictable though. His hands slowly move down my stomach and inside my underpants. It’s sudden and I am not ready and all I want to do is run away or simply die.

I want to say No but the decades of brainwashing and training doesn’t allow me to say no. I pretend to sleep; I pretend to not respond but this doesn’t work. His hands start to stroke my breasts. I feel guilty for not responding, so I do my best to comply as part of my wifely duties. He kisses me; I moan and try to kiss him back but I feel invisible and powerless. His lips overpower mine and I just want all of this to be over as soon as it can.

When he enters me, I cringe with a sharp burning sensation and it takes me a split second to settle back into the present moment. This is not new; my body is not ready yet; my vagina has just started to lubricate but the mere sign of lubrication is enough for him to penetrate me. The rest doesn’t matter. Sometimes it is just the burning; other times I feel that his penis would penetrate my organs as well.

He moves back and forth; faster and faster. I try to breathe harder and make moaning noises, while my vagina burns and feels sore. It doesn’t take him long to ejaculate – Thank God!

He lays his head on my shoulders to recover his breath; while I lay there feeling numb; it’s over. Then, he lifts his head and says mockingly: “Look at what I have to do to make you happy!” and then smiles…

The wave of pain that flows through my whole body is intense but the hurt and shock that I feel in my heart are almost unbearable. I cannot believe that I just heard that!

I am speechless. Maybe he is right. Maybe, my acting was too good that he believed that I was involved; Maybe, he was pretending too… I have no idea…

“Why do you always say that?” I ask but he just smiles sarcastically…

This was my life for many years while I was married (thank goodness, I am no longer married to him). I used to call myself a “masturbation device” for him because that’s how I felt. Instead of using his hand, he used me so that he could ejaculate.

Was it Rape?

From a Western cultural perspective, it was definitely non-consensual sex. But this was the norm in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This didn’t just happen to me but to many other Muslim women and still does to this day.

One one hand, I can say that my husband was an insensitive man who used me. But that’s not the whole story. This was the context in which both of us grew up in

  • We were both Muslims and God instructed him (well, not exactly God but the moulvis – the Muslim doctors of law) to take me as and when he pleases. God instructed me to never say no to him because he is a gift of God to me.
  • The same God (or the moulvis) trained me to always self-sacrifice because the only purpose of my life was to give myself up in service of men who own me.
  • Moulvis taught me that pleasure is a sin so my sexuality is shameful.
  • We both didn’t receive any sex education – in schools or otherwise
  • Affection is non-existent in our culture. The couples don’t even hold hands in public. All forms of romance are limited to the bedroom.

Combine these ingredients and you have got yourself slavery at hand.

My husband did what he did because that’s what he was trained to do – by the culture and religion.

To me, it feels as if moulvis perpetuate rape culture by using the name of God and religion?

The idea of consent, respect and boundaries don’t exist in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the shame of being a woman is so prevalent that I don’t know how women will liberate themselves from these invisible chains.

I hope that women start to question these unjust practices? I hope that women start to think of themselves as human beings worthy of respect. I hope that women start to own their sexuality and throw it back in the face of these moulvis…

I hope… One day….