Kerala’s unsafe homes: young girls and women are not safe even inside their homes

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Increasing rapes of minors.

It’s not only outside their homes, young girls and women are not safe even inside their homes. In Kerala, an increasing number of minor girls are becoming victims of rapes within their families, sparking major concern.

Till May this year, 256 cases of child sex abuse had been reported in Kerala.

In 2012, 445 rape cases had been recorded. This was a sharp increase from 2010 when 208 cases were reported.

The Kerala Women’s Commission is presently probing the case of a 12-year-old who underwent an abortion at the age of nine after her stepfather raped her.

She was also allegedly molested by the father’s nephew for years.

Her mother remained a silent spectator to the assault, despite being told by her daughter on several occasions. “When I used to tell mummy, she would tell, ‘It’s okay’,” the 12-year-old told us.

The police was informed only after the girl confided in her teacher. The girl said that her teachers became suspicious after she began missing her classes regularly.

The stepfather is now out on bail, although his nephew is still in jail.

But in June this year, the 12-year-old’s younger sister, now eight, also confided in their caretaker that even she was molested for years by the accused.

The caretaker claimed that despite going to the police with a submission based on the second girl, the police took no action.

Kerala Women’s Commission is now looking into why the mother’s name was left out from the first FIR.

Psychologist Dr K Girish who deals with cases such as these says that child sex abuse is on a rise.

“Gatekeepers like parents, teachers are failing to take care of their children. They have to be trained. There is no coordination between various groups in the society. It is imperative to teach children life skills,” he says.

What is also becoming increasingly evident is a lack of a mechanism that can deal with the survivors with empathy and in a time-bound manner.

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