Mumbai Hostel Murder: When Will Authorities Care For Women’s Safety?

In a shocking incident in South Mumbai, A 30-year-old hostel guard identified as Prakash Kanojia allegedly raped and strangulated an 18-year-old woman in her hostel room.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Murder and Suicide 

In a shocking incident in South Mumbai, A 30-year-old hostel guard identified as Prakash Kanojia allegedly raped and strangulated an 18-year-old woman in her hostel room on Monday midnight. The guard later died by suicide by jumping in front of a train.

How did the police zero down on the harasser?

According to the reports, the hostel authorities went looking for the young woman on Tuesday evening since she was not responding to calls. The room was locked from the outside. When the staff checked the hostel records, the victim had not signed the main gate about going out.

The police broke open the room, to find her naked body strangled by a dupatta. On the same day, the guard also went missing, whose body was found near Charni Road station on Tuesday morning.

Harassment complaint ignored?

The victim was from the Akola district, pursuing a 2nd-year diploma in engineering. She was residing on the 4th floor of the hostel.

Preliminary investigations alleged that the guard had been harassing her for some time. The father of the victim alleges that the hostel warden was informed of this 15 days before the incident and no action was taken.

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It is a government-run women’s hostel where 40–50 women are residing. There were 3 guards and all of them were male guards. The father of the victim also questioned why no women guards were employed.

Rising crimes against women in India

This horrific act allegedly perpetrated by a 30-year-old watchman has once again highlighted the urgent need to address the deep-rooted issue of violence against women.

According to NCRB data, a total of 4,28,278 cases of crimes against women were reported in 2021, which is an 87 per cent increase in the last 10 years.

And these are just the reported numbers.

Girls are asked to shut up?

When a girl raises an alarm, as a society we gaslight her immediately, saying that she’s imagining things or overreacting. From a young age, girls are often taught to prioritize being meek, accommodating, and non-confrontational. They are subtly discouraged from complaining or making a fuss, especially when faced with harassment or inappropriate behaviour. This conditioning instils a sense of shame, guilt, and self-doubt, leaving women hesitant to voice their concerns or seek support.

Victim blaming culture

Furthermore, victim-blaming attitudes prevalent in society exacerbate the problem. Women are often questioned about their clothing choices, actions, or behaviour, implying that they are somehow responsible for the harassment they endure. This blame-shifting reinforces the notion that complaining will only bring judgment, scepticism, or further harm, further silencing women and perpetuating a culture of impunity.

To break free from this cycle, we must challenge these harmful narratives and shift the responsibility from victims to perpetrators. It is essential to foster an environment where women feel empowered to speak up, confident that their voices will be heard and respected. At the same time, men must be held accountable for their actions.

Image source: edited on CanvaPro

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Savitha Sampath

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