Prajwal Revanna sex scandal | While MP hides abroad, survivors in Hassan are exposed to all

Dharmesh, Hassan district secretary of the CPI(M), says ‘It is time to ask tough questions to the perpetrators of crime and not survivors’

Updated - May 25, 2024 11:05 pm IST

Published - May 24, 2024 12:43 pm IST - Hassan

A file photo of activists demanding arrest of Holenarasipura MLA H.D. Revanna and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, in Hassan on April 29, 2024.

A file photo of activists demanding arrest of Holenarasipura MLA H.D. Revanna and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, in Hassan on April 29, 2024. | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

While Member of Parliament from Hassan Prajwal Revanna, accused of sexual abuse of several women, is still away in an unknown foreign location, many survivors of alleged rape and harassment are finding the going extremely tough back in his home district in Karnataka.

Taunted by their life partners, ill-treated by family members, and being projected in a humiliating manner on social media, most of the survivors have remained incommunicado.

“A few have vacated their houses in the city, along with family members. Some have restricted themselves to the four walls of their home, cutting off contact with the outside world,” said a resident of Hassan, familiar with some of the survivors.

Soon after explicit videos went viral, people started identifying the survivors.

“Some were assaulted by their own family members even as they faced humiliation outside. In some cases, their life-partners and family members were worried that the survivors might take the extreme step. Hence, they are keeping a constant watch on them,” said T.R. Vijay Kumar, leader of Madiga Dandora Samiti, who knows some of the survivors.

Punish people who expose survivors

“Some media platforms have gone overboard, enthusiastically disclosing all the details that could help readers identify the survivors,” said Roopa Hassan, writer and activist based in Hassan. Two survivors, who were initially willing to file complaints, changed their mind after going through media reports. “Revealing the identity of survivors in such cases is a crime (Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code). The police should take action. Otherwise, such wrong conduct will be accepted as normal,” she opined.

Dharmesh, Hassan district secretary of the CPI(M), said, “The more we speak about the survivors explicitly, the more damage we cause to them.” The survivors have been undergoing a horrendous experience every day as the videos are still in circulation. “Many journalists approach me with requests to arrange interviews with survivors. I discourage them. Because, whoever talks to them, either a journalist or an activist, has watched the videos that have gone viral. One can imagine how difficult it is for the survivor to meet strangers who have watched the video clips. It is time to ask tough questions to perpetrators of a crime, not survivors,” he added.

Another Hassan resident, who has interacted with one of the survivors, pointed out that while the prime accused is abroad, his father H.D. Revanna, also an accused, went to jail, but came out on bail. Meanwhile former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who is the uncle of the main accused, keeps talking to the media, questioning the way the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been conducting the probe. “The former Chief Minister and his party colleagues have alleged that the State Government is provoking the survivors to file complaints, casting aspersions on the intent of the complaints. There has been hardly any development that instils confidence among the survivors to come out and file complaints. Hence, many survivors have refused to meet the police and complain,” she said.

Offer of counselling for victims

Dr. S.V. Santhosh, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, told The Hindu that the department and the institute would offer counselling to those in distress following the recent development. “Those who have been facing problems should approach us. Maintaining confidentiality is part of our duty, and our ethics. We are ready to help them, and they should come forward,” he said.

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