Knowing that the law would be on her side, and fed up with the abuses and hypocrisy of her attacker, a woman in India finally fought back. And fought hard she did, something her attacker will never forget for the rest of his life. A law student in India cut off the genitals of a spiritual leader after he allegedly tried to rape her.
The incident occurred in the 23-year old woman ‘s residence in the south of Indian state of Kerala in the night of May 19. 54-year-old Gangeshananda Teethapadam, alias Hariswami, had been regularly visiting the woman’s house to conduct religious rituals upon the requests of the woman’s mother.
Teethapadam had been assaulting the woman for the past eight years, but has gotten away with his deplorable acts. The woman told the police that she has told her mother about the abuses, but she did not do anything to stop it or confront the religious leader. On May 19, the victim of sexual assaults finally took matters in her own hands- literally and figuratively- fought hard against her attacker and cut off his genitals to put an end to his evil acts.
The spiritual leader who was rushed by the woman’s family to the hospital was in a critical condition. The Trivandrum Medical College where the man is being treated said in a statement that the medical personnel who attended to Teethapadam found it difficult to “stitch the cut off portion.” A surgery was performed to stop the bleeding and restore the urinary tract.
Adding to Teethapadam’s woes was the filing of criminal case against him which was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (Posco). The police said they have not charged the woman whose identity they are also withholding since she merely acted in self-defense.
Arul Krishna, the region’s Deputy Commissioner of Police said they are also considering a case against the woman’s mother for abetting the crime for her failure to come to her daughter’s defense and for not protecting her against the abuser. The woman’s father has been bed-ridden for years, and curiously the mother became acquainted with the religious leader after her husband became ill.
Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of the state, has praised the woman for fighting back, saying what the law student did was a courageous and strong act by the woman.
Legally and even morally, no one can fault the woman for firmly trying to end her silence, stop her sufferings, and fight the man who was hiding his vicious ways with a religious façade, and hurt him where it matters most. As what she is probably learning in her law studies, the woman proved that she can, and she must, as everyone else, must stand up for her rights, protection, and dignity.