We all know how biased the society is to women. As if structural and mental violence are not enough to keep women grounded, physical violence takes up a whole new height when incidents of locking up of women’s genitals surface.
A case came to light in July last year where a man in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, mechanic by profession locked up his wife’s genitals by drilling a hole on the either side and putting a lock which could be opened using a key. The case of Sohan Lal Chouhan who committed the atrocious act of locking up his wife’s genitals has now been punished with a ten years rigorous imprisonment. What is even shocking about the case is that three of the 14 witnesses turned hostile including the woman’s own children. The eldest daughter of the couple was also subject to alleged rape by Chouhan which led to her mother, Sitabai whose genitals were locked to consume poison. It was to remove the poison that doctors treated her and found the locked genitals.
Reportedly Chouhan doubted Sitabai to be in an extra-marital affair which drove him to commit such a ghastly act. He also seems to be a person of pervert mentality that he even tried to rape his own daughter. The mentality behind locking the genitals and committing acid attacks on women is not much different. The understanding that a woman does not have a right on her body as much as the male members control it dominates our society. Whenever male members have an iota of insecurity over their right to a female member’s body, they resort to acid attacks and genital mutilation. In certain societies such as in Africa, Norway, Indonesia and even in Britain’s African community, young girls have their genitals mutilated as part of a ceremony in order to keep their virginity intact until marriage. Procedures range from a small circumcision to even sewing up of vagina such that only a little hole is allowed for menstruation and urination. It is not enough to question the physical act of this violence. It is utmost necessary to also question how religion, norms like virginity and suppression of women in other domains lay the ground for such inhuman acts. The crime is not just physically locking, the very thought of locking up is violent.