The power of human recovery is perverse. On Boxing Day, my sure-footed, eighty-five year old Mum tripped while out walking. She sat on the side of the road for a time, a friend brought us home in his car, gingerly she walked into the house and sat on the sofa getting over the shock. We (my sister and I) thought she had badly bruised her hip. It still ached after two hours so we went to A&E in Guildford to get an X-ray.
The first doctor we saw also thought it was a bad bruise; but then the X-ray showed differently. It was a broken hip, immediate admission to the hospital and surgery the next day. That was eleven days ago.
My Mum is now home with us, walking, albeit slowly, with a frame, climbing stairs to bed. Tonight we all went out, if only for a short time for a drink and to meet friends. She hopes and expects that in a couple of weeks she will be at her own home again. There is nothing that makes me doubt otherwise.
My mother has never been frail but still the body recovers quickly from breaks, bangs and bruises. The pain disappears naturally and if it doesn’t there are drugs to numb the nerve ends and inhibit all those signals to the brain.
But a heart broken in love never seems to heal fully. There is no physical damage, no broken or frayed nerve ends yet the brain manages to generate pain forever. However long ago it happened there are always triggers that set you back.
The brain doesn’t seem to care if you have fallen in love again for there are always scars that can never be healed. It’s a universal truth. How often have you heard otherwise balanced friends tell you that they are scared of dating because of the fear that they might be starting a process that ends with them falling in love. They want the love but the pain of being hurt again is too much to bear.
The power of human recovery is perverse.
India has god reason to look at itself – but so do we.
Last week a 23 year girl was raped in Delhi and she later died. Let’s be clear. This is a crime that could have happened anywhere but it happens more often in India. The issue has reverberated across the world not because a rape took place but because it highlighted the position of women in Indian society and the class hierarchies that still exist.
A BBC report highlighted one of the attitudes towards women. “Every year, thousands of girls are aborted because of a traditional preference for sons – medical staff are bribed into revealing the sex of the child. It is leading to an increasingly skewed ratio of women to men. And some of the worst figures are in rich South Delhi”
The now arrested gang leader said that she ‘stood up to him.’ That is why she was raped. It was an embedded attitude of male superiority. It was an attitude based on hundreds of years of culture and tradition.
Of course I condemn the crime totally and hope the perpetrators are dealt with properly and harshly. Of course I want to see these attitudes change and modified.
But this is not just an Indian issue. I have many female friends in the Ukraine and in our exchange of letters this quote is one of many I hear, “To my mind, Ukrainian men don’t value our women and they are very inattentive to them.” This was among the milder comments I read. Many are a lot harsher about the state of women in their country. In this instance Ukraine is not an outlier but an example of attitudes that are common in the old Eastern Block.
So before we self-congratulate ourselves too much on the issue of women’s rights in the rich West we should take stock of where we are and where we have come from. To get to where we are today it is has taken nearly a hundred years from the suffragette in England and fifty years from the start of the global feminist movement . But still we are long way from equality based on respect instead of law.
Certainly we should campaign against this crime in India but remember to some degree or other it is still a global issue.
As a footnote I saw a technology prediction for 2013 that astounded me and reminded me how far technology has moved and so quickly. We find it hard to remember that it is less than twenty-five years since the first PC. I started work when there were type writers and no photocopiers.
In 2013, so the prediction goes there will be a driver-less taxi service operating in Las Vegas. Volvo has tested a driver-less convoy on a motorway (I think in Spain) and Google already have permission from the State of Nevada to operate the driver-less taxis. I know no more details but I can’t wait to try it out.