This is dedicated to all the women in Goa, especially those who recognize the profound abuse they are subject to within the Goan society, but feel there is nothing they can do because of the consequences to their families and their jobs.
He invited me for a dinner at a restaurant close to his house, together with my brother and sister-in-law. We went in his car, driven by a chauffeur. Throughout the dinner, he tried to touch me or hold my hand and said many, many times that I should come to Goa and live with him. . . My response? “I have a life.” His retort? “You can have a wonderful life here. Let me take you out and show you.”
So he took me, another evening, to this five-star hotel for dinner. Why did I accept his invitation? . . . I was home from abroad to be with my family and was very bored. It is commonplace where I come from, to go out for dinners with colleagues, especially if they are friends of the family; it was also tremendously flattering to be invited out by an accomplished man with a history of power and status. At the dinner, he suggested a walk on the beach where he proceeded to sexually assault me. He called me a bitch and a cunt, whilst I warded off the attack. I was saved by a security guard to whom he explained his effort to strip me, as “we are preparing to go for a swim.”
What followed is a saga that spread well over four years, where he was involved in lies, deception, manipulation, trickery and treachery. The first two years I was pursued enthusiastically with many implied statements of eventual marriage. The next two years were brutal and followed my declaration that I would not leave my family: I, myself, was caught up in a Stockholm Syndrome, deluding myself that sexual aggression was love, not willing to bring this individual to task, but knowing intellectually that I was dealing with a man with a severe pathology. I witnessed the fear and domination he brought upon his family and staff.
Predators amongst us . . . note that the male gender is used to represent both the genders.
1.The Sociopath Next Door:
Martha Stout from Harvard describes such an individual in her book by the same name. The cardinal trait of these individuals is a total lack of conscience and concern for the well-being of others. He simply does what brings gain to himself. He will drop friends and intimate partners if his need calls for this without any emotional pain, as he is incapable of forming emotional bonds. His intimacy with partners escalates at a frightening speed, as he wants to get married “tomorrow”, and he drops many hints of the great union of his family and hers. As a true predator he catches his victims when they are psychologically most vulnerable.
You will hear remarks about him such as, “He is ungrateful” or “The person he worked most for is himself.” You observe a superficial charm that allows him to seduce the gullible. He is described as charismatic, complex and sexier than most . . . What stands out in all this is his total narcissism. His marriage is for gain, and he views his mate as a possession and not his equal or a companion. The one sociopath I met in Goa ended up marrying a 64-year old. She fulfilled his fantasy with her over-painted face and high heels that all women are prostitutes, but this one was worth marrying because, as he told all that would listen, “She is filthy rich.” Martha Stout gives the incidence of sociopaths as one in 25 in the United States of America. In a society such as in Goa, I would presume that the percentage is higher, as we tend not to give credence to the woman and blame her for behaviors that are admired and deemed “macho” in men, such as infidelity, multiple partners, adultery and sex outside of marriage.
So what does one do when you encounter such a man? First of all, believe that there are people that are unlike you and learn to recognize a sociopath. I failed to listen to many who warned me about this individual and fantasized that I was the one who understood him and his sad life that led him to behave in this way. Be alert to lies, as such individuals think nothing of lying if it would lead to personal gain. See how he behaves with others. I saw this individual terrorize his staff, humiliate his cook and heard of accusations of theft that he heaped on his driver because he did not turn up for work one day. When you realize what he is, avoid him like the plague, nothing is worth the destruction he will create in your life if you allow him in your circle of close friends.
2.Angry and controlling men:
Lundy Bancroft writes on these in his book: “Why does he do that?” These men change their moods abruptly, sulk for hours at a time and then deny it, blame you for whatever might have gone wrong with their day, confuse you with their arguments and most of all, abuse you psychologically and physically. Yes, I was kicked once by one, because the ointment I gave him had an expiration date that had lapsed. They are angry at home, but calm and smiling on the outside. Highly negative about women (one stated that the young German girl who was allegedly raped in Goa, “slept around”. “So, what does the law say about sexual acts with minors?, I asked), but they will be vocal supporters for equality when giving interviews to the press.
They use ridicule and sarcasm, persuade you that they are the absolute authorities in whatever they are discussing at the moment, provoke guilt, play the victim, smirk, roll their eyes and exhibit contemptuous facial expressions to demean you. It is not unusual for them to feign remorse about their abuse. They get energized by humiliating you.
What should you do? Be aware that such men can wreak grievous bodily and emotional harm on you. What matters is that you recognize what this person is and seek help from people of conscience and integrity, and in a position to do something about this. In Goa, there are women’s groups that might help you. In the West, workers join labor unions, and these help to fight such abuses at work. If nothing else helps, again, try to avoid such men. Be aware that some of them actually rape and kill.
The label of “alcoholic” connotes to our minds someone passed out on the streets and exuding alcoholic fumes. The truth is that there are many high-functioning alcoholics in Goa. They usually start their serious drinking in the evenings and nights, and after one drink, crave for more. They engage in binge drinking on weekends at times or when they travel outside Goa. They are moody, insomniacs and notorious for a life of failed relationships. They can be physically or emotionally abusive. Yet, they function well in their jobs, surround themselves with people who enable them in this habit and cannot think of a life without alcohol. They could have a myriad of physical symptoms, including urinating at inappropriate sites, lapses of memory called blackouts and do damage to their livers and brains.
4.Men who seek power over women:
Yes, you guessed it, such men are usually found amongst the rich and powerful, and the political life attracts many of those. Their weapons are humiliation and intimidation, and they will stop at nothing because grinding a woman under their heel is a cause for rapture in these sub-humans.
So why am I writing about this?
Some of these individuals have been in the Goan media for awards and recognitions of various types. There are many Goans who are aware of acts committed against women, who laugh at and deride these culprits in private, but laud them in public. Do the politicians realize that voters are both men and women? India, we are told, is at the dawn of a new age and recognizes that corruption and vice is what will keep us in the gutter. I suggest that there should be a screening mechanism for moral character for those applying for public office, especially for those aspiring for the highest seats of power. Where have all the Mahatmas gone? Think well as you go to cast your vote in the polls.