*Trigger warning: violence, murder*
From a third person’s point of view, the alleged turbulence in their relationship and the repeated violence by the partner were clear indications of things going South. This is when both of them needed external intervention.
Shraddha apparently did try to take help from her friends and colleagues and even ended up at the police station to file a complaint against Poonawalla for physical assault. According to one of her friends Rahul Rai, Shraddha was abused and assaulted by Poonawala over petty issues, reported Tribune India.
In 2020 we all helped her in filing FIR after she reached out to us for help saying Aftab beats her…we took her home. The police officer suggested detaining Aftab for interrogation but she said such things happen in a relationship: Rahul Rai, Shraddha's Friend pic.twitter.com/VVdfWUF0t2
— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2022
With their help, Shraddha went to the cops in 2020 to file an FIR against Poonawala. But when the cops suggested detaining her then partner, she said ‘such things happen in a relationship’ and conveniently brushed the issue under the carpet.
But this picture of her face covered in bruises tells another tale.
The next day when she was called to the police station, she said that she is scared for her life as Aftab allegedly already tried to kill her before and beaten her multiple times. She further claimed that he locks her at home and has another affair. She also mentioned Aftab’s alleged drug usage.
When Rai tried contacting her post this, she said ‘don’t worry, such things happen’ and since then they never came in contact.
When again we tried to reach out to her she said don't worry, such things happen, later we never came in contact: Rahul Rai
— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2022
Since the investigation is underway, some WhatsApp chats of Shraddha with her friends and colleagues from 2020 have gone viral wherein she was informing them about being brutally beaten by Aftab.
In her chat with her manager, she’s informing the person that since she was beaten up by Aftab, she isn’t feeling well enough to come to work.
“I won’t be able to work today. I have severe body ache and my BP is low because of yesterday’s beating. I have no energy left and I can’t even get up from bed.”
“He is going today, but I am not going today, because he beat me mercilessly. My blood pressure is low. I have bruises on my body. I do not have enough strength in my body to get up from the bed. I want to make sure that he leaves my house. I apologize for any inconvenience caused and the work affected,” she added in her chat from 24 November 2020.
In one of her chats with her friends, she is seen saying that she’s going to visit the police station and the Mahila Mandal probably to complain against Aftab.
On hearing of her past history, many thought that Shraddha, the victim, was at fault for ignoring all these major red flags.
unfortunate but in this case the biggest culprit is the victim herself. She kept taking decisions for herself, ignored family and friends, trusted a fraud and not foreseeing what is in store.
— Arun Kumar Singh (@akumarsingh1) November 18, 2022
Wow ! I’m not sure what the girls require.
— A Proud Kafir © (@TellPKS) November 18, 2022
Very sad. If she could have ended the r/ship that time, she would be alive.
— Shruti Sarda (@gumnaamaurat) November 18, 2022
Union Minister of India, Kaushal Kishore also gave a statement that the victim was at fault for abandoning her parents and getting into a live-in relationship with Aftab.
We have seen this earlier. Victim blaming is the most convenient thing to do in such situations. A woman got raped? Maybe she wasn’t ‘appropriately’ dressed.
While everyone said she could have gotten out of the relationship earlier, no one really spoke of how it’s not easy to get out of such abusive relationships.
It’s a vicious cycle. The moment you think of ending it, you fall for the ‘I will change’ tactics of the abuser. After all, it’s love that got them together and it’s because of this love that one keeps giving second chances to their partner, ignoring all their abuses and hoping everything will eventually go as planned.
Moreover, when you fight with the world for your partner like Shraddha did for Aftab, there’s this shame attached to accepting that your decision was flawed. I am not an expert but I understand how abusers can gaslight and manipulate victims into accepting their love-hate relationship.
A writer of The Wire who has also worked on inter-generational trauma wrote, “Like an addict who goes back for the high, the abused victim goes back to the abuser for love and affection.”
“They seek to stop the abuse by changing their own behaviour. They think that by pleasing their abusers, their relationship will go back to the ‘love bombing’ phase. When cases of abuse become public, we see that women are often not believed. Does it take murder for a woman to be believed?”
And what the media today is doing is adding fuel to people’s ideology that the victim is the culprit for not letting go of the abuser.
Despite becoming Sherlock and making this serious incident into a circus, the media could have involved psychiatrists and therapists who could give an insight into how and why victims keep getting deep into this swamp and why Shraddha wasn’t able to get out of this toxicity. Don’t you think?