Another martyr in Kerala of sexual anarchytext_fields
Kerala has registered in the last seven days at least six cases for displaying nudity in public transport and misbehaving with fellow passengers. The accused in the above incidents were caught thanks to the fact that the passengers decided not to pretend they did not see them and suffer the harassment in silence. Any effort made by women to shake off the societal label as a lot destined to suffer it all is to be applauded. The subject has also generated a great deal of debate in traditional media, social media and among the general public. These incidents were deemed as a sign of Keralites' sexual impoverishment. But in the meantime, a crime and a shocking murder took place in Kerala, which was not discussed much. And the victim of this heinous crime was a young woman who came forward to fight against the sexual assault and the violation of the dignity and self-esteem of women and to question it through legal means.
A year and a half ago, the young woman filed a complaint that the practice of wife swapping arrangement was being conducted in Kottayam for the purpose of sexual abuse. She revealed that her husband was forcing her to share bed with other men and physically and mentally harassing her. The Karukachal police, who registered a case and started an investigation, found that the complainant had been molested by nine men and arrested six of them. It became clear that this crime, which is being carried out under the cover of social media friendships, had a wide reach and that large groups including the elite were working for this, concentrated in various districts, but the investigation soon came to a halt. In the case registered in January 2022, the charge sheet was not filed till May 2023. The main accused had in the meantime been released from jail and had followed the complainant by threatening, forcing and luring her. The young woman who was living a completely isolated life after being forced again to commit perversions with others was suddenly murdered. Although her husband, who was found poisoned, was strongly suspected to be behind the murder, the woman's relatives have alleged that many others in the wife-swapping gang were involved - ample evidence of how strong the links in the sex racket are. It cannot but be said that the negligence shown by the police to ensure the safety of the complainant in the pending case and to control the whereabouts of the accused is inexcusable.
The media has reported that such anti-social and anti-women wife-swapping networks are operating in many parts of Kerala. Cases have been registered in Kochi and Kayamkulam. However, there is no record of the follow-up investigations in these incidents or about who all among the accused have been punished. The Supreme Court has ruled that consensual sex between men and women is not a crime. Even if we concede this for the sake of argument, let's not lose sight of the fact that what is going on here is not consensual sex as defined by the Supreme Court, but sex trade, where men engage in coercion and intimidation of their wives to acquire money and status. If it is put more bluntly, it is sex rackets that operate under the guise of marriage. Often women are forced to suffer it for the sake of the family's 'honor' and the children, and the cases get erased. If the accusation is against people with clout, then the less said the better about the outcome. Ten years ago in Kochi, the authorities had rushed to liberate a young woman who complained against her husband, a naval officer and his superiors, that she was doing wife swapping; but the authorities were found to be more keen to acquit the accused husband. In this case, the Supreme Court had 2016, had directed Kerala Police to appoint a special investigation team. What came of it eventually is unknown.
No meaningful initiative is being taken in the state to eliminate the trend of such serious sexual anarchy. On the contrary, it is unfortunate that there is an argument is raised that portrays and justifies it as if it were part of urbanization and progress. Even the women's groups that voice against the denial of rights did not come forward to ensure justice for the wife-swapping complainant in Karukachal. The government should not waste a single minute in locating the killers of the young woman and cracking down on those behind sex trade rackets that thrive both online and offline.