Journalist KK Shahina started receiving lewd messages from Kuwait-based Roopesh in August, when she commented on a post that said how men do not respect women.

Kerala journo files two complaints against Kuwait-based man for issuing rape threats
news Sexual Harassment Friday, October 05, 2018 - 16:24

On August 5, journalist KK Shahina replied to her friend’s Facebook post on how men do not respect women. The next moment, she received a barrage of sexually-coloured repulsive comments from a Kuwait-based Malayalee man, who goes by the name Roopesh Chathoth on Facebook. Since then, Roopesh has not spared Shahina from his lewd messages, including threats to rape and impregnate her. In messages, posts and even on public groups, Roopesh has repeatedly called Shahina a 'prostitute', has threatened to rape her and said that 'pregnancy would cure her'.

Shahina says she sent him warnings to stop verbally abusing her. The warnings, however, fell on deaf ears; in fact, it goaded him into sending more daring and lascivious messages, almost every day. Shahina has approached the cyber crime cell of both Kerala and Kuwait, but so far, she has not received any help.

Being a prominent journalist, who is quite vocal about women’s issues, Shahina says she is used to receiving such explosive comments. “I usually avoid responding to such comments; if I do respond, things would end with the exchange of a few comments. But this person was not like that. Even when he sent those abusive posts, I did not plan to complain. But, contrary to what I had expected, he went on to abuse me more on a public platform, sending me posts almost every day. That’s when I decided to take the matter to the police,” says Shahina. 

She approached the Kerala Cyber Crime Cell, but all she received was an auto-generated reply with a file number. Then she sent the complaint to the Kuwait cyber crime cell, along with all the screenshots of his comments.

The above screenshots are just three of the (around) 30 screenshots of messages she has received from Roopesh.   

“Kuwait gives priority to the safety and security of women. I respect and appreciate the women-friendly policies of Kuwait. However, I did not receive a favourable reply from them. I received a formal reply that said that they have received my complaint,” she says. 

Shahina then did a background check on Roopesh with the help of her friends in Kuwait. “According to a few people in Kuwait, Roopesh is well-known in social circles there, but for all the wrong reasons,” she says.

“He was part of a cultural club. His friends describe him as an alcoholic, who even hurls abuses at the guests invited to their club as part of cultural programmes. He was eventually removed from the club,” Shahina says.

“I also found that he works for a company named Advanced Technology Company in Salmiya and that he hails from Calicut in Kerala,” she adds.

In an effort to settle the matter, Shahina sent a private message to a Facebook account that was his wife's, asking that her husband publish an apology both in Malayalam and English on his Facebook for abusing her and withdraw all his posts. The wife responded saying that she will talk to her husband.

“A few minutes later, she replied saying that Roopesh told her that I started the problem, and since I am responsible for this situation, I should apologise,” says Shahina.

The journalist also says that her friends, too, have been targeted and have been receiving derogatory messages from Roopesh. “I did not report him on Facebook and deactivate his account as I wanted to maintain the proof of his existence when and if investigations happen,” she says. 

As the man continues to spam her Facebook page and defame her, Shahina continues to hope the government of Kerala and Kuwait will act on her complaint.

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