On Thursday, the gangrape survivor -whose story was recently shared by dubbing artiste Bhagya Lakshmi on Facebook- told mediapersons how the police worked hand in glove with her rapists to leave her with no choice but to withdraw her complaint.
In a press conference held in the state capital, the survivor recounted the mysogynistic attitude of the law at the Peramangalam police station in Thrissur. After subjecting her to a horrendous round of interrogation that lasted for four days, the circle inspector reportedly asked her to work out a compromise, rather than pursue the case.
She identified the four rapists as Shibu, Bineesh, Jineesh and PN Jayanthan, who happens to be the CPI(M) Vadakancheri Nagarasabha councilor. The four men were her husband's friends and in 2014 took her from Thrissur to Kodangallur on the pretext of taking her to the hospital, where her husband had been admitted.
She said that the police schooled her to change her stance in front of the Magistrate. She went on to admit that she was ignorant about how important medical proof was in such cases. It took her almost two years to build up the courage to file her complaint, which she did on 16 August 2016.
Bhagya Lakshmi with the couple
But the â€˜emotional rapeâ€™ she faced at the hands of the police discouraged her further and she chose to withdraw her complaint rather than be subject to further public trauma, she said.
"I told my husband a few months after the incident and later we decided to file a complaint. They were living life normally, we were the ones suffering. They taunted my husband saying he was living with a woman they had 'used'. At the police station the officers treated us like dogs. In the name if evidence collection, I was asked to identify the spot. When I could not articulate properly, they abused me," she told the media.
It was after hearing Bhagya Laksmi refer to silent victims of rape on a TV show that she decided to approach her in the matter.
"Don't make this about politics. But the fact that one of the men was a political leader did make the police behave badly to us. We have not been to Thrissur for the past three months out of fear," she said.
Bhagya Lakshmi added that though she believed that no woman should be made to conceal her identity while fighting for justice, the couple had two children and so not revealing their identity was important.
The survivor said that the police forced her to change her stance in front of the magistrate. "My husband was kept captive. I withdrew my complaint, but did not deny the rape," she said.
Following the press conference, the survivor and her husband accompanied by Bhagya Lakshmi and activist Parvathy proceeded to meet the state DGP Loknath Behera. They are also scheduled to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at 4pm on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Jayanthan has refuted the charges, terming it a deliberate ploy by the couple to extort money from him. Speaking to Asianet, the councilor said that they had asked him to pay Rs 15 lakhs, which he refused to do.
Parvathy with the couple