The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Rakesh Kumar Duan, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
On the 13th of March 2015, Indiatimes.com published an article about the death of the Kolkata Park Street Rape Survivor, Suzette Jordan, who had been suffering from meningoencephalitis.
The following is an excerpt from the article: “The case caught media attention in February 2012 after she was gang-raped by five men at gunpoint in a moving car. Defying Indian law, which bars a rape victim’s identity to be revealed, the rape survivor boldly came out in the open and revealed her identity to the world. She also participated in several protest marches to register her voice against rapes in the city.”
A lot of guts are required to do what Suzette did, after she was humiliated and shamed after the rape incident. She refused to break down and continued to fight for her justice and others’ like her till her last breath, and in the process inspired us all.
“I am tired of hiding my real identity. I am tired of this society’s rules and regulations. I am tired of being made to feel ashamed. I am tired of feeling scared because I have been raped. Enough is enough”, she had famously told the BBC. “My name is Suzette Jordan and I don’t want to be known any longer as the victim of Calcutta’s Park Street rape.”
She dedicated her life for the betterment of rape victims and was working as a counsellor at a helpline for victims of sexual and domestic violence. But she suffered injustice throughout.
As put by the celebrated human rights activist Harish Iyer, who was a close friend of Suzette’s, ” She was not raped by some gang of perverted men. She was raped by the people of this country. She was raped by the law process of our country. She was raped by each one of you who doubted her story. Some time back, she was denied entry into a restaurant called @Ginger, in KOLKATA because *She was a rape victim*. There was an outrage on twitter and FB when she spoke up. But actually, the restaurant staff was only holding a mirror to the attitude of people in our country. For us rape is a cause, and rape victim is a story. Rape is something that happens to the person on TV, or someone you read on the news, Rape doesn’t happen in our homes. We live in a world of denial. Suzette died today at 3 AM. Correction : India murdered Suzette with their mindset and attitude towards women and survivors of rape.”
It is absolutely true that in India, the rapists move around unabashedly and freely, while the rape victims are subjected to a life of denial and anonymity.
But the courage shown by Suzette Jordan is unparalled. She challenged the society and tried to make it realize that in a rape, the rapist should be humiliated, not the victim. The rapist should be punished, not the victim. And more importantly, the rapist should hang his head in shame and try hiding from the society, not the victim.
“In a country where rape victims hide their face in anonymity, where rapists remorselessly brag about their crime Suzette was one woman who refused to hid in darkness [and] who made us stop using the word victim and instead call her a survivor,” filmmaker Anindita Sarbadhicari wrote on Facebook.
Finally, these are the words written by a journalist from NDTV who took Suzette’s interview about her perception of life, “Most striking, no hard luck story. No self-pity.”
It is true that Suzette is no more between us, but she would continue to inspire millions throughout the world thought her story to always stand up for what is right, even if the whole world is against you.