Seeing posts celebrating the “brave” decision to force the infamous MC Josephine to resign from her position of Chairperson of the Kerala Women’s Commission brought a couple of questions to my mind.
1) What the hell is there to celebrate in this decision which has come 4 years too late? This pathetic excuse of a woman has been doing everything possible to prove that she was absolutely unfit for the job from the beginning. Insulting and refusing to help women of all ages – even bedridden elderly ladies, branding sexual assaults as “mistakes that happen”, proclaiming in public her “friendship” with rape-accused party colleagues, refusing to register suo moto case against said “friend and colleague” because her “party acts as court and police station” and thus showcasing absolute disregard for the law of the land, lacking even the slightest amount of decency and empathy in dealing with victims who desperately needed help – yes, she did everything possible to prove that she was scum and not someone to be entrusted with a position of utmost importance.
Yet she retained this post for an entire 4 years despite the complete mockery of the Commission and its purpose. And that, the confidence that there would never be any consequence to her shitty actions, is what we saw in the viral video clip of her insulting a domestic abuse complainant. Just imagine the arrogance in speaking the way she did on live TV! She knew, she really knew, that she could afford to say or do whatever she wanted, like always. And her explanation for that? She was tired and she was speaking as the girl’s mother would. Lady, the woman who called you was much, much more tired than you. And if her mother was able to help her, she wouldn’t have come to you. She came to the Chairperson of the Women’s Commission, not someone who would take up a tough mom role to escape her responsibilities.
Even now, I can say with complete surety that this “brave” decision of asking her to step down came only because of the timing of this incident. The state is still dealing with multiple dowry-related deaths that happened in a span of just one week and there is a massive outrage that is going on. If this had happened at another time, she would have gone scot-free yet again.
So stop celebrating and ask the most important question – why the hell was this scumbag of a woman kept in such an important position for 4 long years despite repeated displays of not just her inefficiency, but her utter lack of respect and empathy for women who suffer? In these 4 years how many women who could have got justice must have been insulted or intimidated and bullied to keep quiet? How many of these women must have ended their lives without ever making it to the front page of sensation-seeking media? How the hell is this something that qualifies to be “better late than never”?
2) While the video clip exposed her latest stunt and led to her resignation, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to the woman who called? We have a woman who has been a victim of abuse for 7 years at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law, has been too scared to go to the police and finally tried to get help from the Women’s Commission, failed to get it, has been asked to “go on suffering” by the Chairperson of the Commission on live TV and has her voice clip doing the rounds on social media and has since become viral, with every chance that her husband has heard it too. Great! How difficult would it be for the guy to know that it was his wife’s voice, especially with details like her place and the year of wedding?
Probably the intention of having a live phone-in complaint-hearing session by the Women’s Commission was to show off to the public that they are taking their job seriously and helping women who are in distress, following the dowry-related deaths of last week that have kicked up quite a storm. But who in their right minds would come up with a publicity stunt as stupid as this for a crime that needs to be reported in complete anonymity? Taking complaints about domestic abuse on live TV??? These are women who live in danger that we are talking about. If they are able to report the crime and get help, that’s great. But if they tried to report a crime and that didn’t go as planned, and their abusive partners got wind of it, imagine what they would do to these women!
I sincerely hope that the woman in this video clip is safe. I also hope that if they cannot help such women, the Commission would at least stop coming up with more such ridiculous ideas to show off their uselessness. Because not trying to help these women is one thing, putting them in more danger is quite another.
Hopefully we will have someone sensible and empathetic to head the Commission now, someone who understands the gravity of this position and the ability to bring hope and help to those who need it.
Also published on Medium.