MC Josephine resignation: Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson MC Josephine resigned from her post Friday following controversial remarks she made to a woman complainant on harassment.
As per local reports, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) directed Josephine’s resignation after a secretariat meeting was convened in Thiruvananthapuram.
Following a line of consecutive deaths in the state alleged to be over dowry harassment, CPM is looking at reformative change in assistance for survivors. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a strong statement June 23 called for the urgent need to stop looking at women as “commodities.”
Earlier this week, during a Malayalam call-in show, Josephine snapped at a woman survivor who said she hadn’t yet told anyone about the domestic violence she was facing. “Then you suffer,” Josephine was quoted saying.
None from CPM came forward to defend Josephine, even as the opposition and public ripped into her remarks, demanding her resignation from the Women’s Commission.
MC Josephine Resignation Follows Huge Uproar
Josephine had been in the role of KWC chair since 2017 and still had 11 months left to her term.
Following backlash, Josephine told the press on June 24, “I didn’t say this. There are women who aren’t willing to listen to us. We suggest women to file complaint making the case stronger as we can’t reach everywhere… Later, I realised that I shouldn’t have reacted in such manner. I’d like to express regret if my words have hurt her.”
A woman on call said she was being tortured by her husband & mother-in-law. I got to know that she didn't file complaint. Later, I realised that I shouldn't have reacted in such manner. I'd like to express regret if my words have hurt her: MC Josephine, Kerala Women's Commission
— ANI (@ANI) June 25, 2021
As the controversy brewed, other insensitive remarks made to harassment survivors were attributed to Josephine, as per reports.
“If someone still wants to pay dowry, credit that to the account of woman,” she said to reporters on Thursday in Kollam, which led to the District Congress Committee president Bindu Krishna filing a complaint with KWC. Mathrubhumi further reports when a woman alleging marital cheating raised grievances with Josephine, the former KWC chair said she deserved a tight slap.
Earlier this week, three women’s deaths were reported in alleged cases of dowry harassment. The first of 24-year-old Vismaya Nair captured exclusive national attention as tragic stories of her abusive marriage surfaced. Read about the cases here.
Kerala Govt Steps Up To Dowry, Gender Imbalance Issues
Announcing the introduction of support systems, Vijayan, who was re-elected to office for his second term as CM, has said, “Instead of fearing what the society would think, women facing domestic abuse need to raise their voice. The Government will stand by you and protect your rights.”
He called attention to the Domestic Conflict Resolution Center in each district, assuring authorities had been directed for speedy action in complaint resolution. Aparajitha, the cyber crime complaint service, would also now accept domestic abuse complaints. Further, he said a state nodal officer was assigned to look into dowry cases.
A fair society is that which treats women and men as equals. In light of the recent horrifying incidents of domestic abuse, Kerala has decided to take more stringent measures to create a fair society. The Government and the people will stand together to end this injustice.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 23, 2021
In a separate tweet the next day, Vijayan carrying forward measures for gender empowerment in his state, said school textbooks will be revised to ensure the removal of content that disparaged women.