Humiliated and insulted: Plight of women in Hassan as ‘Prajwal Revanna videos’ tarnish district’s image

Hassan's identity has been hit and outsiders are poking fun at the people, specifically women, after Prajwal Revanna's heinous acts.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jun 03, 2024 | 11:06 AMUpdatedJun 03, 2024 | 11:06 AM

Hassan Women Sexual Violence Accused Prajwal Revanna Jayalakshmi

“Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata,
yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah.”

(Where women are revered, there, the gods rejoice; but where they are not, no rite bears any fruit). — Manusmriti.

Women in Hassan of Karnataka are a distressed lot after video clips of purported sexual abuse by JD(S) scion and suspended MP Prajwal Revanna started doing the rounds on social media.

The videos, involving several women, have now affected the normal life and dignity of many a Hassan woman — having no link with videos —  with others poking fun at them and viewing the district with a jaundiced eye.

The prejudice has made women rise in protest, seeking justice for the survivors of Prajwal’s libidinous acts. Ironically, the MP was supposed to protect the interests of his constituency but ended up being the bane of the segment, especially women.

Authorities yet to act effectively

Despite videos surfacing every day, the authorities were yet to react even as the women continued to suffer the insult and humiliation.

The situation in Hassan looked similar to Bhatkal, to some extent, in bygone years. The area in Uttara Kannada was once viewed with suspicion after two brothers, Riyaz and Iqbal, along with another youth Yasin, joined the proscribed Indian Mujahideen and declared war on the country.

Bhatkal was then considered the viewed the recruiting ground for terror organisations.

A similar fate has now befallen Hassan, with several social media posts targeting their dignity, each woman being viewed with suspicion.

Related: Prajwal Revanna arrested from Bengaluru airport

Crime against womanhood

A civil society group recently held a protest against Prajwal — now under arrest — and his family. Several women — though not survivors— came forward to join hands and raise their voices for the abused.

Hassan Women Sexual Violence Accused Prajwal Revanna Jayalakshmi

Jayalakshmi, a resident of Hassan. (South First)

They also protested against the societal harassment being faced by women in Hassan after the incident had come to light.

Several women reported experiencing embarrassment and harassment, both in person and on social media, as the abuse case appeared to have altered perceptions and attitudes towards them.

“Hassan is known for its rich heritage and sculptures. The district had fame and a good name until this heinous incident came to light,” housewife Jayalakshmi told South First.

“This incident has made Hassan women bow their heads (in shame). Even society is perceiving women with disrespect even since this scandal came to light,” she said.

Related: SIT searches multiple locations for Bhavani Revanna

‘Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante…’

“This is the land where women are supposed to be worshipped. The law should not spare such offenders and must punish them,” Jayalakshmi further said.

Karnataka Prajwal Revanna 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Hassan MP JD(S)

Upon return from Germany, SIT arrested Prajwal Revanna at Bengaluru airport.(Supplied)

“If the law frees him, it will only pave the way for increased crime against women. In recent days, atrocities against women have been on the rise. If the government fails to act, it will worsen the lives of women in the state,” she added while demanding justice for the survivors.

Several women refused to be identified. A teacher, who requested anonymity, told South First that after the videos were leaked, the women in Hassan were facing harassment from society and on social media.

“We are not even able to face our relatives or friends,” she said.

“Whenever relatives or friends from other districts make a call, they won’t end the conversation without mentioning Prajwal Revanna’s case. I am feeling embarrassed to say that I am from Hassan because of the changed perception,” she said.

Related: Karnataka High Court deems HD Revanna bail order flawed

Humiliated and insulted

“Several contents tarnishing the dignity of Hassan women are appearing on social media platforms. I have stopped using social media for the last few weeks. The government must step in and act effectively to address such issues,” the teacher appealed.

Hassan Women Sexual Violence Accused Prajwal Revanna Jayalakshmi

Tara, homemaker and resident of Hassan, demands justice for survivors. (South First)

Homemaker Tara, too, was embarrassed. “This heinous incident has made Hassan infamous,” she told South First.

“The attitude towards women has changed. We feel embarrassed to say that we are from Hassan,” she appealed to treat women with dignity and respect.

“I demand the government to take stringent action against Prajwal Revanna. At the same time, the central and state government, considering the gravity of the case, must instill confidence in the survivors,” Tara appealed Tara.

None of the protesters were survivors of Prajwal’s alleged abuse. They hit the streets to make their presence felt and their voice heard. Neevyeddu Nilladidadre, a civil society group, organised the protest Namma Naddige, Hassanada Kadegie.

The protest underscored the urgent need for stringent legal action and societal support to restore the dignity and confidence of Hassan’s women.

Related: Revanna booked for kidnapping ex-help allegedly raped by Prajwal

HeForShe 

Not just women, but men in Hassan, too, have been enraged over the scandal.

Hassan Women Sexual Violence Accused Prajwal Revanna Jayalakshmi

Farmer Somashekaraiah demanded stringent action against Prajwal Revanna. (South First)

“Domestic helps have been made scapegoats. No women will come forward and report (sexual harassment by the Revanna family) because they have been blackmailed,” farmer Somashekaraiah from Chanrayapatna told South First.

“They (Revanna family) have so much political influence not just in Hassan but across the state. For such people, silencing women won’t be a big matter,” Somashekaraiah was indignant.

Venting his anger at the Revannas, he asked, “If the politicians’ family had faced similar violence and harassment, would they agree with it? All are equal, right? Have these people just dropped from the sky?”

“They have attained these heights because the people voted for them election after election. People gave them power and everything but they assaulted women, who were working at their home. They acted like wild animals,” Somashekaraiah said that Revanna and his family would meet the same fate as that of Ravana.

Related: Sea of solidarity as thousands march against Prajwal Revanna in Hassan

Nothing ‘Prajwal’ about Revanna

He pooh-poohed Prajwal’s claims that the allegations were part of a political conspiracy against him. “Will a burglar admit to burglary? Why do we need the laws, court, and police. We need nothing,” he said.

“They have the muscle and money power and might influence and close the case itself. They have connections till Modi (Prime Minister),” he said.

“They are capable of doing anything to shut this case. If someone questions them, then they will be fixed in a case and made to rot in jail,” Somashekaraiah spoke of a possible outcome while demanding action against Prajwal.

The people of Hassan have been standing united, with farmers, businessmen, and ordinary citizens condemning the political influence that they feared would the Revannas to evade justice.

Related: No objection to action against grandson if he is found guilty: Deve Gowda

Tarnished identity

“Hassan’s identity has taken a hit ever since the incident came to light. While speaking with friends and relatives over the phone, they try to make fun of us,” businessman Obalesh Gowda told South First.

“We have become mute, unable to reply to them. This incident has taken away mental peace of not just mine but also several of my friends as well,” he said.

“The government must prevent people from sharing these videos and making fun of women of Hassan on social media platforms,” he urged.

On Revanna’s political conspiracy theory, auto-rickshaw Hanumesh B said no thief would admit to the crime.

“He comes from an influential family, who enjoys considerable clout in Hassan for the past several decades. The government must conduct a fair investigation and must punish him, irrespective of his claims,” Hanumesh said.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).