The complainant, a woman from Kochi, told the chairperson that she got married in 2014 and has been subjected to domestic violence. Josephine seemed irritated from the beginning of the call.

Kerala Women’s Commission Chairperson MC JosephinePHOTO CREDIT: SANU N, WIKIMEDIA
news Controversy Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 16:39

Kerala Women’s Commission Chairperson MC Josephine courted yet another controversy after a clip in which she was seen making an insensitive comment to a domestic violence victim went viral. In a live programme conducted by Manorama News on June 23, women were told they could call in and complain directly to Josephine about any abuse they are facing.

One complainant, a woman from Kochi, told the chairperson that she got married in 2014 and has been subjected to domestic violence. Josephine, who seemed irritated from the beginning of the call, kept complaining about some noise in the background. She then asked the caller if her husband and mother-in-law were ill-treating her. When the woman said yes, she asked her whether she had filed a police complaint. When the woman said she had not informed anyone, Josephine said, “then you suffer”.

Initially it was the woman’s mother who spoke to Josephine, but Josephine insisted that she wanted to speak to the victim. When the phone was handed over to the victim, she seemed unprepared to speak about the issue and there was some disturbance in the connection. She then told the woman to consult a lawyer and approach the family court. She also said that if the complainant needs to, she can complain to the Women’s Commission also but indicated it would be of no use as the husband lives abroad.

Though Josephine appeared curt and rude with some of the callers, she answered others with more patience than at display in the viral clip in the one-hour programme.

As many people reacted to this viral clip and demanded that Josephine resign, she reacted saying that she did not behave badly with the complainant. Saying that she did not abuse the woman, she said she just asked her to complain to the police. She also denied that she said “then you suffer”. She said that many women call her daily and she also went through severe pressure as a human being. She also justified herself by saying that common people sometimes do not understand such issues properly, which is why she needs to make her point strongly.

This is not the first time Josephine has landed in a controversy over her rude behaviour. In January 2021, she had shouted at a relative of an 87-year-old woman complainant. The complaint was against a neighbour who assaulted 87-year-old Lakshmikutty, as a result of which she could not walk properly.

The relative had called Josephine to request to shift a Women’s Commission’s hearing to a nearby place as the complainant was bedridden. In the audio, Josephine was heard asking why he made an 87-year-old file a complaint. She was also heard addressing the old woman as ‘thalla’, a colloquial word in Malayalam that is used to refer rudely to an old woman.

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