#Opinion

When Will Society Stop Blaming The Victims In Horrifying Murder Cases?

Aftab Poonawala case
The country is grappling with the horrifying news of Aftab Poonawala killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar six months back and cutting her body into 35 pieces to dispose off in the Mehrauli forest over 18 days. Soon after the investigation came to the news, various opinions came in from people on social media and some insensitive portrayals of the crime were found in media houses.

It was Walkar’s dad who filed a missing complaint about his daughter in September after which the police kickstarted the investigation. The police found the gory details of the murder which were mostly told by Poonawala himself. It was also revealed by the neighbours of the flat where the murder happened, that Poonawala brought in women during the last few months. So while Walkar’s body was inside the fridge, Poonawala mingled with other women in the same flat.

Why is the deceased victim being blamed in Aftab Poonawala case?

Even after the details of the murder came out with the accused confessing the crime, people seem to be still blaming the victim for the murder. Among the details of the crime, it came out that the relationship between the duo was turbulent and Walkar wanted to walk out of it but couldn’t. She allegedly was beaten by Poonawala several times which she told her friends over the years. Many people on the internet started blaming Walkar for accepting the abuse for that long and asking why didn’t she walk out if it was so toxic.

It’s ignorance and lack of empathy that can raise such questions in people’s minds.

In most cases, the self-esteem of domestic violence survivors is often shattered by the constant gaslighting and toxic behaviours of their partners. It takes a lot of courage and a support system from outside to help them get out of a situation like this. In this case, Shraddha Walkar seemed to have been quite out of touch with her friends and family. The survivors also grow a trauma bond with their abuser which makes it even more difficult for them to walk out of the relationship. In a report, Walkar’s father shares a conversation with her daughter a couple of years back where he advised her to break it off but she did not listen. But that doesn’t mean one can blame the survivor for not having the courage because it’s never so black and white.

Not just blamed for surviving, an Union Minister commented that ‘educated girls’ who decide to stay away from their parents to settle in with their partner without legal sanction or marriage should learn from Walkar’s incidents to avoid such crimes. One can argue to such a comment that there are plenty of cases where husbands or other family members have killed a woman for various different reasons. If marriage was the solution to protect against crimes then no married woman would ever face any danger in their life.

Why does always the blame come down to women? In any scenario whichever gender is on the receiving end, the blame and anger are always put on women. Especially when they are out and out innocent, patriarchy finds a way through people’s mindsets to point fingers at the woman’s morality or her image. When one is raped, their clothes are in question and when one is murdered, her decision of living with the partner without marriage is questioned. So when will we finally question the criminals? What do they really have to do to look like villains in these narratives?


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Social media has seen several insensitive memes and jokes made about the murder. The wide popularity of memes making fun of one of the most gruesome crimes of the year makes one wonder where does it really stop? Have people turned really inhuman to enjoy the idea of others’ pain? Even some media houses have shown a lack of empathy in reporting the murder as they focussed on attracting more views on their channels. At the end of the day, it seemed like people were more concerned about click baits and staying relevant than caring about any form of justice being served to the murdered 26-year-old Shraddha Walkar.

Views expressed are author’s own.