Kerala Journalist Reveals Sexual Abuse at Madrassa; Threatened

V P Rajeena, a sub-editor with Madhyamam, a prominent Malayalam daily, has come under fierce and organised attack on social media after she wrote on her Facebook wall a personal account about sexual abuse in a madrassa two decades ago. Facebook soon closed down her profile after mass reporting by her abusers. Her account has since been recovered and blocked a few times.

Last Sunday, Rajeena, based in Kozhikode, put up a post on immoral conduct of instructors at her madrassa in her younger days. She gave a graphic account of witnessing instances where young children are repeatedly exploited by the ‘Ustad’ (teacher) at a Sunni madrassa in Kozhikode. Soon, she was greeted with a barrage of abuses, nasty comments and threats on her FB wall and in her message box.

“The abuses came in large numbers, questioning my motive at making these revelations. They pictured it as an attack on the religion. I never tried to generalise this as the behaviour of all madrassa instructors. I just shared what I experienced. But many others from the community did come out in support. A few shared with me similar experiences which they had kept as secret all these years,” said Rajeena to The Hindu

The write-up was triggered by a controversy surrounding gender segregation in Farook College, Kozhikode, that had been reported a few days back.

“Muslim women here are facing denial of justice on so many levels, but they do not have a platform to raise these issues within the community. I was forced to use social networks because of this very reason. The suppressed anger of so many years might have also come out through the post,” she says.

The News Minute quotes Rajeena saying, “I am woman, a Muslim woman that too, and a journalist, so such a revelation from me was unacceptable for many. What should have lead to a healthy debate on child sexual abuse has been denigrated in to a fight against me. I have been called an anarchist and someone with an agenda to defame a particular religion.”

According to Rejeena, her abusers are afraid of more women from her community speaking out. She says that instead of targeting her, they should try to ensure that women from the community get justice. She is clear that being silent about issues is not the solution.

Many prominent persons including political figures, writers, journalists and others have since come out in support of Rajeena and condemned the way she has been treated.

(Featured picture: V P Rajeena receiving the Ramnath Goenka Award for rural reporting.)