Kali Awakes Demanding Justice

A young medical student, future doctor who would have saved lives, was vandalized like a bombed church to the point where it’s questionable whether her survival would have been a mercy.


I understand the rage and deep despair of women in India. They have been living under a terrorist threat all their lives, and it does not come from without, but within. They walk the gauntlet every day, facing random crime and threat while those who should protect the public indulge in denial and victim blaming. Women are expendable. The mistake of the six men who thought they could get away with murder was in not choosing their victim more wisely. They never expected that schoolgirls would be holding signs calling for their public hanging.

Every society has crime. What has women and men demonstrating in the streets of India is the intolerable injustice. For too long, oppression of women on the margins has been ignored. Now the depth of the suffering of women is the shame of all, and the people are calling for justice. That justice will not be satisfied by a show trial, but by real change. That justice will not be satisfied until a woman can believe that she is equal under the protection of the law.

It was about 30 years ago the first Take Back the Night march was organized in Providence, Rhode Island. It was not a triumphal march. It’s no fun to have to walk the streets of your own city, chanting ‘No More Rape’. The rule of law should be responsible for public safety. But rule of law was applied selectively and atrocious crimes were being committed without consequences.

I think that thirty years on, we are less complacent, but an individual has a better chance of justice, whether she or he is of high status or low.

A friend of mine, in our women’s spirituality group– okay, it was a coven– told me a story.

She had been active with a Zen Buddhist center, and was going through a rough time emotionally. She asked one of the monks for spiritual advice.

When they were alone together, and she was in a vulnerable state, he steered the counseling session into a sexual encounter.

She left confused, but soon recognized that this man had betrayed her trust and taken advantage. It took her about a year to get up the courage to do something about it.

She said she prayed to the Goddess Kali to keep her anger alive. To keep her from falling into niceness and premature forgiveness. To give her the angry courage to tell this man frankly how much he had harmed her.

She said that when she had finished telling him how his actions had affected her, he thanked her. She said he kept saying, “thank you.” all the time she was telling him the truth. Maybe she really did get through to him.

A beautiful and useful concept that was developed in South Africa is ‘Truth and Reconciliation’. Before reconciliation there must be truth. And that truth must be taken seriously by those in power to construct and enforce the law. We are in a new millennium, and we cannot afford to lose the best contributions of half the human race in order to appease ancient prejudice. That challenge goes out to all the world, to the daily life and struggle of every woman no matter where she lives. Like the Unitarians say–the worth and dignity of every human being.

Thanks to Summer Anne Burton for her photos of Indians demanding justice.

(Creds to this site, 10 Most Powerful Hindu Goddesses for the fierce aspect of Kali.)

5 responses

  1. They should be hung only AFTER castration with no anesthesia if found guilty after trial.I don’t believe in lynching,but I do think people like this should be legally exterminated.

  2. I share Joe’s anger at the brutality, but would add its especially disappointing about India. It is not just about the individual murderers but apparently also about a deep rooted misogyny in that culture that I hadn’t been aware of. Its bad enough the way women are treated in the Islamic world, much of Africa, et tu India? For all our problems, it makes me more appreciative of the culture of the US and the “west” which on the whole has evolved far beyond where India seems to be now.

    Best to all Kmareka bloggers for the new year and beyond!

    1. Yes,Barry-women are frequently treated like shit in a number of other cultures.We hear more about Islam than some others.I don’t know any place in America where rape is socially acceptable.I think it’s the idea that women are property that leads to it.I understand yur shock at India seeing as how they had a woman as Prime Minister quite a while back,but so did Pakistan and Indonesia and Sri Lanka.The latter two weren’t assassinated at least.

  3. I just read a story online that related the ambush/murder of 5 female teachers and 2 aid workers in the Peshawar region of Pakistan.This follows the murder of 21 policemen in the same area a day or two ago and the murder of 9 aid workers giving polio shots(!).
    I think we should be very thankful we live in the United States because there are a lot of places in the world where even a Newtown massacre would raise few eyebrows.
    I really don’t want to see this country compromise with radical Islamists.I’d assume most if not all of the victims I referred to were also Islamic,but not part of the insane wing that seems to intimidate the rest of the believers through terror.
    I don’t want to hear the standard rant about Christian extremists because they aren’t doing these mass killings.The murder of one gay activist doesn’t equate to this stuff.
    There was a Jewish extremist who shot up a mosque and killed a lot of people before being killed himself,but that was an anomaly and widely condemned in Israel.
    In any event,I started this comment because apparently being a female teacher in some places is more dangerous than being a fireman.

  4. OK-there HAVE been Christian attacks on mosques in Nigeria,BUT that goes both ways there in what amounts to a religious civil war.We need to spend more time teaching real history and real current events in place of feelgood crap which does not prepare kids for the world.

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