Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Fritzls of India- Incest shadows

Shocking is too mild a word to explain the anguish and pain i feel right now, reading a news article on incest. Talking about such relationships is always a taboo, but that doesn't hide the fact that it never happens. In India, we refrain from expressing our own feelings and incidents like these to our own kith and kin. News like this never comes out, it is snuffed out and subdued into words like ' family honour' and ' family name'. The dark shadows lurches around, waiting to take on our children too. Father-in-law's sexual relationship with his daughter-in-law, two minor girls ( aged 12 and 14) killed by uncles and grandmother as their affair with cousin brother was exposed, father sleeping with daughter forcibly and mother turning a blind eye to it....Read the full story here. Such cases are extremely under reported in India, disbelief, denial and cover up to safeguard the family reputation shadows the rampant abuse. The close-knit family system of India is another major contributor effective in masking the problem, families choose to shun these troubles as internal family affairs rather than reporting and punishing the offenders. Marriages between cousins and uncles and nieces is very common even today in South India.

Is this phenomena new to India? Certainly not. It has been there for ages, we simply refuse to look into. Delhi organisation RAHI's survey shows 76% of respondents were abused when they were children, 40% of it, by family members. Of this, 42% by uncle, 42% by male cousin, 4% father, 4% brother and 8% other members. We lack a social support system for the victims too. Even after effective counselling, where will the victims be put up, to who's care do they turn to, if not the families? The NGOs offering support are over-flowing already and rehabilitation of these abused victims is simply not possible. The chance that almost half of India's girl children have experienced or will experience sexual abuse is very high, states BBC News.

The worst part is, our Indian Laws DO NOT offer JUSTICE to these victims of incest. Incest is not a punishable offense in Indian Law, unless the child is a minor which is taken as a case of child sex abuse. Whereas, in other countries like Australia, Ireland, Finland, UK, Germany have made incest illegal and punishable. Napolean abolished incest laws in France and Belgium 200 years ago and it is legal there now. FRITZL was the first case of incest that shook Europe, in 2009, Austrian Fritzl was handed life sentence for locking his own daughter in dungeon for 24 years and fathering 7 children with her. Detlef.S. is making headlines in Germany now, for his infamous incest. He is charged with 350 counts of sexual abuse of minors in his care from 1987 to 2010. He admitted to fathering atleast 7 children with his step daughter. He has been charged with abusing daughter ( from age 9), step daughter and step son for 20 years ( right from their age 4) and forcing both girls in his custody to prostitution. Detlef has been called German Fritzl, after the infamous Austrian.

Joe Fritzl- fathered 7 children with daughter Elisabeth Fritzl,who was locked up for 24 years.
What we need are revamp of legal system pertaining to punishments for incest, social support system for the victims who cannot go back to their families after legal measures and more media light on this issue. Above all, let us not ignore our children. Listening to their whispers, insight into their childhood world and comforting them when they need us most is what we have to do personally. As parents, we have the responsibility to nurture our young and if we fail in that primary duty, our material wealth and social accomplishments are futile.


  1. After about 30 mts of searching through the net I have stumbled onto your blog. Very insightful and truly worth a read! But as you say there are many issues that are taboo in our society and incest being one of them. What about sexual abuse within the family? Paedophilia that is perpetuated by uncles and cousins and sometimes family friends? Laws will work if there is reporting otherwise it will be just another law .. But I am amazed by the research you have done!

  2. Hi meerasrajan, Thanks a lot for your very first comment on my blog:) I am humbled:) Positive comments froma fellow blogger is always a boost;)A big ThanQ:)

    I like to bring out such hidden issues in our Indian Society, of course with some ground research:)

  3. hi nive...very controversial topic u know indian law offers the rapist a chance to marry his victim and the if he agrees , he goes scotfree...what sort of justice it is...defies all logic...even if victim marries him can she lead a peaceful life??

  4. REg:child incest and … I like to add these wer all eccentric cases… and the prob that some one is affected is say one in a thousand or even lesser thn tat. The issue which need more attention is child abusemnt and taking advantage of their …I had heard same knd of stories suffered by gals esp bet grades of 6,7 , 8,9 .(tat too by masters ) and aft that they bcme little mature. So nw they are betrayed in the name of pupp love or some thing.I had seen in engg college days how masters used to teach Engineering drawing personally wit 200% assistance of which they don’t even show 25% to guys. The attention is too close suc that even those gals try to avoid thm but cant express it straight,. More so in Public conveyances crowded Buses and v large crowds teenage romeos jus roam around for sake of ……Heard of work places … but have not seen personally ..
    If we lookat the origin the causes wer 3 or 4

    1.May be prob there is of attitude “WHO IS THERE ToO SEE??”. Where as wit co.s at rurals ( nw a days employ women in common for a/cs and cashiers) women will be treated wit due respect. Bcaz they will b knowing she is daughter/wife of so and so.. and know them by family for years. And if he go wrong and get face tainted … the society in which u ar playin a foul game is the society in which u ar gonna live for next 50- 60 yrs. So ppl roll their tails and show a good face to the society they live with. (may be the dark face could be seen at courtallam at week ends or some other place.. hw ever which is not goin to affect a common man/woman).and there are some one suffering some

    2.OCD.(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder),. Who don’t wish to do some thing anti-social… But their mind is conditioned to thrw pranks at the opposite s.. so they do…

    3.and there are some one who feel.. let s thrw the ball … and will watch for signal…in 10 trials they may nt had oppositions .. that will prompt them to do the next trial..

    4.lack of punishments against womn.. last yr there was some one at dilli killing 40 kids.. recent shoranur … list never ceases … meaning the culprits don’t have fear of lw. Will they be embolded if we have laws likes of ARAB countries for crime against women??

  5. Hi Ramnath, Thanks for your valuable comments. This is sure a complicated issue, sadly it never sees the limelight due to shadowing by families. And I agree with you, Indian Law is indeed outdated when it gives the rapist a right to marry the victim. She is a victim for God sake, not some object that can be passed on from Father to Rapist! Our Legal system needs a revamp NOW!!!

  6. Thanks for your thorough research and insighful comments on the issue, anonymous. You have obviously done lots of home work here! The issue of child abuse is not something that i have gone indepth in this post, it is rather incest from within families. CHild abuse is totally a differet threshold and i will revert with a strong post on that soon! You provide fodder for me;) Thanks!

  7. nive, i would like to remind u abt a recent incident in so called 'literate' kerla state where a lone women traveller in a passnger train was sexually assualted and thrown out of the train. she sucummbed to her injuries later in a hospital.
    current status....the rly police have registered a case and are 'looking' for the culprits.

  8. Hi sad to hear abt that. sexual violence against women is steadily increasing in India, probably Gulf style punishment for offenders might check the evil...Thanks for your kind comment and time:)


Hey, just let me know your feedback:)