Young brides from the little town of Pollachi in Tamil Nadu are being blacklisted since the huge sexual abuse racket that shocked the nation, was detected. Many parents are asking their daughters to stop going to college and pursue studies through distance education. A student said in many homes, there is even a ban social media and going out.
A woman student told NDTV, "People do not want to marry girls from Pollachi. This town, which has always known for its warm culture, is being seen differently now".
"My parents are asking me to join a correspondence course and stop college," another woman student said.
Four men, including a young financier with an MBA degree and a young engineering graduate, are behind bars for sexually abusing women -- mostly young students -- and blackmailing them with videos, demanding money and sexual favours.
The police said they befriended the women on social media, and took them to hotels and on long drives, where they were sexually abused.
Pollachi is small municipal town in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. Many students are first generation learners. This is why, many say, women are being targeted.
Men say they are facing uneasy situation in colleges after these developments. "It is a delicate situation for us with our women student friends. We also discuss with them their rights to safeguard themselves when they face such situations".
So far, only one survivor has filed a complaint. Many, however, have confirmed on police helpline that they suffered sexual abuse, blackmail and extortion, police sources said. These women are not yet ready to give a written complaint.
Students say part of the reason is the prevalent culture of victim shaming.
"How can the district police and the Home Secretary reveal the name of the complainant? How can survivors trust that their identity would be kept confidential?" one woman asked.
The Madras High Court has severely criticised the authorities for this lapse and ordered that the woman be paid Rs 25 lakh.
The ruling AIADMK has expelled a youth wing leader, Nagaraj, for allegedly intimidating a survivor's brother. He and three others are out on bail while four others have been put behind bars under Goondas Act.
The CBI is yet to take over the case. The opposition DMK has accused the state government of attempting to protect the perpetrators and silence survivors. The state government has denied this. Chief Minister E Palaniswami hasn't commented on the issue.
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