Abused, traumatised and threatened with sleaze videos was how the Kochi city police found the victim of an alleged rape by her live-in partner at a flat in the city.
The seriousness of the case has prompted the police to launch a special drive focusing on domestic violence out of the public gaze.
“We receive on an average 10 such petitions, including on rape, in a month. We now plan to conduct a special drive with the help of residents associations,” said C.H. Nagaraju, District Police Chief (Kochi City).
The proposed drive will focus on apartment complexes as they offer increased anonymity. In the ongoing case, the victim was being abused inside the apartment for nearly a month and the police feel that someone would have noticed something but may have chosen to remain quiet.
Station House Officers have been asked to get in contact with apartment association office-bearers and collect information on suspicious activities.
Relations under strain
“Unlike in the past, rape cases now involve parties known to each other and may already be in a relation. The trust reposed by one person is exploited by the other and this mostly happens in the case of live-in relations. It has to be said that unlike the tested institution of marriage, live-in relations, though not illegal, lack social control and commitment and comes under strain at the drop of a hat,” Mr. Nagaraju said.
Kerala State Women’s Commission is set to survey the domestic violence cases in the last one year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the period before to evaluate whether there has been a spurt.
“Domestic violence is a social reality and over the last one year, I have received calls every day from women, majority of whom were married for decades, enduring it silently for the sake of their children,” said M.C. Josephine, Chairperson, Women’s Commission.
Rangadasa Prabhu, president of the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council, said that often apartment associations have no clue about the goings-on in individual apartments as owners often leave them with caretakers who may indulge in anti-social activities.
“Apartment associations should be made accountable for the happenings under their watch and they should constantly share information with the police,” Mr. Prabhu said.