A 32-year-old woman in Kerala, India, who was allegedly gang-raped by her husband's friends admitted in front of the press that she was forced to withdraw her complaint because of humiliation by the police.
"I was called to the police station for four days continuously and made to sit there from morning to evening. I was asked humiliating questions," she said. “As part of evidence collection, they took me around to public places and would ask me to explain intimate details."
One police officer reportedly asked the victim, "Which one of them gave you the greatest pleasure?"
The rape survivor added she was also forced to withdraw her case. “They made me sign papers but I don't know what was in it," she said. "Far more than rape, it was the police threats and humiliation that was unbearable."
The woman shared her story with a prominent local activist Bhagya Lakshmi, who shared it on her Facebook. The post has been widely circulated and even drew a response from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
According to the woman, two years ago when her husband was away, four of his friends came to their house and claimed he was in hospital. She went with them, but they drove her somewhere outside the city and then allegedly took turns raping her.
Some time later, she confided in her husband, who urged her to go to the police.
The woman has named her alleged rapists; one of them, a councilor, has accused the woman of lying and getting back at him for demanding money he loaned to the couple.
Worst story today. Cops asked who pleasured me the most, says Kerala gang rape survivor https://t.co/5r3LfkqPFC— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) November 3, 2016
But plz don't say "rape culture" coz it triggers us! We worship goddesses you see? https://t.co/tV7eCybb2N— Zubin Madon (@ZMadon) November 3, 2016
Incidents like these continue to shock India — and the world in general — despite the fact that the country has seen much progress with respect to sexual violence against women recently.
India's rape epidemic came to light internationally with the 2012 Delhi rape case, when a student was gang raped aboard a moving bus.
The public outcry that followed the incident, along with the government’s legislative response to sexual violence against women, was perceived as a wave of change in India.
A landmark bill was also passed containing harsher punishments for rapists.
However, numerous cases from the past few years show that rape continues to plague Indian society — and in many cases goes unpunished.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Navesh Chitrakar