Aftab-Shraddha Murder Case: Every Woman Needs to Define for Herself –“ What Is Acceptable and What Is Unacceptable”


                                                                 Source: Deccan Herald


The recent murder of Shraddha Walker, 27, of Vasai, Maharashtra, by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala, 28, in Delhi, has highlighted how women are victims of toxic relationships and often ignore red flags because they don't know how to get out of them. According to The Indian Express, Shraddha was physically assaulted several times during her relationship. Aftab used to emotionally blackmail her and threaten her with suicide if she left him, according to her friends. Not only that, but Shraddha had stopped calling her friends around the end of May, just days before she was murdered.

Indicating Toxic and Abusive Relationships

All of these indicators point to an unhealthy, toxic, abusive relationship with numerous red flags in this case. But she didn't know how to get out of it. Similarly, many women face similar difficulties.  Dr. Tarun Sehgal, Psychiatrist and Co-Founder of Solh Wellness says "Identifying relationship toxicity is not easy or simple". Some people stay in toxic relationships for a long time, while others leave too soon or for no apparent reason. 

A solution that works for one person may not work for another at all. Women should do the four things listed below. To begin with, make abuse completely unacceptable. Physical, mental, emotional, or psychological abuse is rarely stopped by the abuser. As soon as you notice abuse, leave the relationship. Second, every woman must define her red flags - what is and is not acceptable. Third, get involved in support groups where you can learn from others' experiences while also sharing your own. Finally, seek out therapy early in the relationship."

Utilizing the Sixth Sense

Women have a stronger sixth sense by nature, and taking notice of the little things, moving away from the herd mentality and gaslighting, and seeking help bravely are some of the key steps to staying connected to this sense. Women should be conscious of their environment, culture, and immediate surroundings to live fearlessly.

Red flags include frequent lying, avoidance behavior, increased aggression, isolating yourself from your support system, making you feel extremely vulnerable, encouraging substance abuse, cheating, threatening, and intimidating. Relationship toxicity occurs when an individual is constantly mentally exhausted, dissatisfied, and unhappy and when he/she is repeatedly made to feel depressed, lack empathy, and miserable.

Toxicity in Relationships

"Toxicity in relationships is simply anything that is harmful or could be harmful," says Aanchal Narang, a Counselling psychologist. "We are frequently taken aback by love and misinterpret its intensity for passion and chemistry, which is supported by mainstream Bollywood films and television series. Possessiveness and co-dependency are frequently romanticized." Attempts to isolate you from your existing social support networks, such as family and friends. When someone is codependent, they rely on you for all of their emotional needs; they threaten to kill themselves if you leave, or they self-harm by cutting themselves.

The following are some things to look out for:

  •  Outbursts of rage - yelling, screaming
  •  Fearful
  •  Addictive
  •  A lack of belief
  •  Substance Abuse and Dependence
  •  Disregarding and dismissive of your individuality
  •  Exploitative and manipulative: has complete control over your decisions, opinions, who you meet, and what you wear.


Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which the perpetrator tries to manipulate your perception of reality. If they are cheating and you suspect it, they will try to persuade you that you do not trust them and are causing problems in the relationship.

  • Abuse, both physical and sexual
  • Push yourself to the limit.
  • Never accepts responsibility for their errors: never apologize, always blames you for everything, and if they do apologize, it is always conditional and not accompanied by any actionable change.
  • They have financial control over your assets and expenditures.
  • These include lying, manipulation, isolation, gaslighting, co-dependency, and abuse.

The concept was devised by Michael P Johnson. He also discusses how this has the potential to escalate and how the partners are involved in forming an entwined relationship. It becomes difficult to break free unless something drastic occurs or they receive prompt assistance."


Identifying toxic and abusive relationships early can save an individual from the threatening and harmful ends of such relationships. If a person is experiencing such abuses in his/her relationships, then he/she should inform the police or any other concerned authorities as early as possible.

Written by Anjali Raghuwanshi



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