Khushboo was on her way to attend rally for George Floyd who, a year ago ,had been arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since she had decided to attend , she had been visualising the video of his death that had gone viral on the internet and was disturbed, as many were, at the cruelty shown by a police officer in America. He had so ruthlessly ignored his training, responsibility and duty of care by placing his knee on George Floyd’s throat for more than nine minutes He neglected to see that George was breathless, gasping for air and repeatedly saying that he could not breathe, to which the officer had replied rudely and cruelly, "Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes heck of a lot of oxygen to talk!"
As she was early, she drove slowly, turning on the car radio to for some quiet background music, driving past houses with grounds and gardens that had trees that lined their driveway. As it was growing dark, lingering shadows of the evening were beginning to spread and wrap themselves lazily across them protectively.
She glanced at them briefly before her mind returned to the video that was taken of the incident by worried bystanders. And when some of them had noticed that Mr Floyd had become un -responsive, some had urged the officers to check his pulse whilst another had phoned the police to report a crime!
But even when the officers could not find a pulse,, the officer had not taken his knee off George Floyd’s neck, so he just lay there, face down, still in handcuffs and it was only at 20:27, that Mr Chauvin had finally removed his knee from Mr Floyd's neck when, motionless, George Floyd was rolled on to a gurney and taken to the County Medical Centre where an hour later he was pronounced dead.
‘I cannot breathe’ How many times had Khushboo heard those words declared in desperation by the women who she represented, for they were stuck in relationships in which they felt suffocated. It had ended with death in George’s case, whereas the women whom she represented were smothered in relationships in which they were exploited emotionally, financially, and physically. Both suffered denial from the social system so was one’s fate worse than the other? The answer was in the affirmative for the women had a choice of escaping their dilemma, however difficult that was, whereas George was given none.
Khushboo, as a lawyer who dealt with ethnic women, provided an outlet for them for most felt they could not express their feelings, for it was an ago old tradition that women must keep quiet about how they were treated by men, so they were expected to sit at home silently whilst the world outside ignored them. And the women would keep quiet in the knowledge that even if she spoke, her problem would be dismissed, so they had no choice but to keep quiet, simmering, aware they were alone and wondering if they were insane and beginning to doubt themselves, on the narrow verge of stability; one wrong move and she could plunge into insanity or into its perception
Khushboo braked as she came to traffic red light, and as she waited for it to turn green rustled through her handbag for her mobile to call her mother to tell her she would be late. Having put the mobile back in her back, she sat back and took a sip of coffee from the paper cup that she had purchased before starting the drive to the rally.
As she waited, tapping her long fingers impatiently on the wheel, wondering how men did not realise the responsibility they held, for everything rested on the harmonious relationship between men and women, which would eventually seep out into character and future of children and society, its future and last, but not least the culture and shaping of tradition? Why should everything be a matter of power and control with men? Even her father Anil, suppressed her mother!
In her experience, Khushboo had found that black and minority ethnic women who were victims of domestic violence, suffered a double disadvantage. They did not receive help and support from the police not only because they were victims of domestic violence but also because of their ethnicity which was not taken into account by them. Although she was aware that racism was a global problem, she was surprised when one of her Russian clients told her that racism and sexism existed in Russia too, where racism presented itself in adverse outlook and, in some cases, measures taken by some Russians toward people, who according to them, were not ethnically Russian! Sexism was tolerated and even sustained when laws were passed that protected men and ignored the plight of the women who suffered domestic violence.