Vilify the Victim, Crown the Culprit

a poem by Shernaz Wadia

A lamb was once defiled by a wolf.
How could the trusting creature know
There lurked a lecher in guardian garb?
So they sat in judgment
Wise shepherds and keepers of the law
They confabbed, held solemn counsel,
Consulted their books.
With sombre eyes, grimly set lips
In haughty authority they proclaimed:
Penalize the sinner. Her virtue is tainted
Let her divorce her mate
Marry her off to the rapist wolf!!!

Obliterated, veiled in a shroud
Of transposed ignominy
The piteous victim quaked.
Terror-stricken, confused, now she whimpered
“Justice. The culprit must be punished”
And now she whispered tremulously
“I will bide by the tribunal’s dictum.”

Every herd in the countryside was aghast!
What justice this
That executes the quarry and garlands the cur?
Justice convoluted is justice hanged!
They broadcast the infamous fiat
Over distant meadow and lea
Horns locked, head rammed into head
Conferences were held, fiery debates fought
The sheep and ewes were a divided lot.

Profaned, appalled, violated,
Head drooping, lips aquiver
The blindfolded deity weeps alone
In her crumbling edifice.
Woebegone is her stifled lament:
“I’m pinioned to shame and contempt
By an impotent band,
My ‘loyal vanguard’
Of tongue-tied cowards!”