THEME 1: PERPETRATOR IS KNOWN TO SURVIVOR
CASE STUDY: CASTE-BASED VIOLENCE AS RETALIATION #1
State: Tamil Nadu
Date of the incident : November 2019
Age of the survivor: 16
On 5 November, 2019, the mother of a Dalit girl in the 11th standard at a school in the Madurai District of Tamil Nadu, received an alarming phone call from the school principal asking why her daughter had been absent from class that day. Shocked, the mother asked her daughter where she’d been and the terrified girl explained that she was being sexually harassed and assaulted by a 24-year-old man from the Kallar community, a dominant caste.
It transpired that the accused had been hounding the girl for seven months, coercing her into a sexual relationship, disregarding her repeated refusals, and using emotional blackmail to manipulate her into meeting him by threatening to commit suicide if she rejected his demands. On the day she’d gone missing from school, the accused had abducted and sexually assaulted her in some thorn bushes, declaring the pair would get married.
On discovering what had happened, her parents approached the police with the help of a local organisation. Initially, the police were reluctant to file the case and delayed the medical examination, making things extremely stressful and time consuming for the family.
Finally, after pressure from local NGOs, an FIR and charge sheet were filed by the police, a medical examination took place, and the accused was arrested. The girl also received an interim compensation sum of Rs.1,50,000. She was provided with trauma, supportive and educative counselling by local CSOs, but did not receive further support from the state.
Soon after the accused was released from custody, he threatened the girl’s family. Despite this, they remain undeterred and her mother is continuing to push for prosecution, seeking justice for her daughter and hopeful that he will be prevented from abusing any other girls