Why A Survivor Cutting Off Her Oppressor’s Genitals Is Not A ‘Victory’ For Anyone

A woman in Kerala allegedly cut off a godman’s penis recently, after allegedly enduring years of sexual abuse at his hands.

I refuse to celebrate this event with a hashtag. Even after turning a complete blind eye to the barbarity and savagery of what allegedly happened, I fail to spot the victory in this unfortunate incident. I miserably fail to recognise what everyone is so jubilant about. If it is anything at all, it is a failure. In big black letters. It is the failure of the system, failure of the state apparatuses, failure of her family, who it seems, were actually aware of the molestation for some time, failure of humanity, failure of each and everyone around her, including you and me.

When asked why she did what she apparently did, she reportedly said that she knew that no one would believe her if she said she was being molested by a godman (let me not even go to all the countless crimes that are being committed under the ‘safe’, dark shadow of gods and religions). And that this was perhaps the only way she could think of defending herself. She was pushed to such an extreme that the only way out was to cut off the very thing that was causing her all the pain. Even as I appreciate her nerve in responding to what was being done to her, my head is hung down in shame. Ashamed of the amount of desperation she had to go through to reach this breaking point. Ashamed of the years of harassment and molestation that she had to silently suffer. Ashamed of the lack of options she had. Ashamed of the lack of open space for her to speak out. Ashamed of the inevitable victim blaming that she was so sure of. Ashamed, that is what I am.

Am I happy that talionic justice was done? Am I consoled that she herself got to inflict pain on her oppressor? Am I happy that she was avenged? Maybe yes, to some extent. Yet I cannot overlook the fact that she suffered years of harassment. If only she enjoyed the trust of her family and those around her. If only cutting off the genitals of her rapist was not her only option. If only she did not have to do what she did at all. If only.

I repeat – this is no victory. Not for women, not for justice and definitely not for feminism.