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When a #Woman #Leader Abuses A #Rape Victim

February 25, 2012

Women politicians are meant to empower the women in their states.  But in India the opposite is true.  Women politicians usually look away as violence towards women in their states escalate. 

In one such case last week (details below), a woman chief minister, Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, who also happens to be a lawyer, not only ridiculed a rape victim who had the courage to come forward with her complaint, but later this minister admonished the police officers, who due to media pressure continued the investigation and caught the rapists.

 

CASE SYNOPSIS

Last week,  in Calcutta’s Park Street,  a woman was taken hostage by a gang of men in a car, on the pretext of giving her a ride home from a pub.  She was raped at gunpoint, and brutally battered.  She was then dumped on the roadside bloodied. When she went to the police for help they jeered at her.  The male police officers joked about going to the pub themselves to find a ‘girlfriend.’  They asked her to demonstrate what positions she was raped in.   And they also delayed her medical examination as well as the investigation of the case deliberately.  The Chief Minister, a woman, and a lawyer,  shamefully stated the victim was lying and just playing politics.  One of her other ministers began to openly question what profession she belonged to.  Was she a prostitute?  They threatened to begin investigating her family — her father’s past and work record for instance.   The victim was traumatized.   She said she felt victimized all over again.

This horrifying treatment of a rape victim is not a one off — India is the third worst country for rape cases, and most Indian women will not file police complaints for they fear being re-victimized like this victim has been.   Many fingers in the civic society have pointed towards this victim, and people have said she should not have got into a car with 5 strange men.  Yet,  there have been numerous other reported incidents of women being kidnapped by a group of men and gang-raped in India regardless of where and who they are.   In 2010 a young Japanese woman, making a Buddhist pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya was gang raped by a group of auto drivers. In 2003, a Swiss diplomat was abducted in a car and gang raped at the high profile venue of the international film festival she was attending in Delhi.  In fact,  primary investigations show that the 5 men involved in the Kolkata gang-rape case may have done the same to other women in the city.  What are the chances that these women will now come forward given the Chief Minister’s hostile response.  More over the Chief Minister’s response gives a green signal to other rapists in the city, and to the police to continue with their harassment of victims.    

In the last few days the Calcuttta police have made arrests, but the main accused is still free and the Chief Minister has not withdrawn her remarks.  Instead, she hauled up the police officers who made an effort to diligently investigate the case and catch the criminals.   How many women will feel safe to come out and complaint about rape under this Chief Minister?   Only a global outcry now can turn the tide on violence and intimidation against women across India.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Astrid Haagensen permalink
    February 25, 2012 2:23 pm

    Women should support each other, not make life harder for each other. This minister needs to rethink her actions and apologise to the rape victim. She also must give the police a better education in how to take care of victims like this.

  2. DebDub permalink
    February 25, 2012 4:10 pm

    The statement that Miss. M. Banerjee made, was unfortunately what she was briefed by the Commissioner of Police. Of course, such public claims that I make can be well used against myself. But if you do find out the names of the 5 men and trace their background, you would see how dirty politics truly is.
    Everything that we see or experience cannot be black or white. There’s a grey area… a large grey area.

    • February 27, 2012 10:42 am

      24 hours after the reporting of the incident, without even a full investigation, CM Banerjee, as a lawyer, should have known that any kind of statement on a case like this is unwarranted. It was not just that she was dismissing this without a trial, it was her attitude. She responded in unprofessional, insensitive and extremely sexist manner. She was actually jeering at this woman, and showing absolutely no political fineness or leadership skills. Basically in what she did before, and then after the investigation — that is scolding the officers who cracked the case and refusing to apologize to this woman, the CM has given the green light to all the ruffians and criminals and rapists in the city. She has also terrified the women of the state who may have been victims before and might have come forward, since the investigation shows these men have done this before!!! And she has made sure that no police officer will work to keep the streets safe for women, otherwise she will haul them in and give them a dressing down!!!

  3. emery permalink
    February 28, 2012 8:22 pm

    this is what you get when war crminals run the government! they choose a few week and brain washed women to enter the govenment just as a cover story. this is happining all over India. untill the war criminals atr thrown out of office this will continue to happen.

    • March 6, 2012 8:43 am

      @emery — India seeing this pattern in other states too where women become state leaders, for e.g. in the state of Uttar Pradesh as well after Mayawati took over as Chief Minister, the number of rapes began to increase, and Mayawati also responded the same way that Chief Minister Mamata has — with disregard! Largely because it is men who bring these women to power to serve a patriarchal society and all its misogynist norms. These women political leaders are aware of that — so they try to keep the men happy, and don’t care about the women. The women of India often vote for whoever their husbands and fathers tell them to vote for, and it is important that women all of over India begin to exercise their votes independently and learn to fight for their rights. So it’s very important when women like the victim in this incident comes out and fights, the rest of us put all our support behind her, unlike the second comment that you might notice here that makes excuses for kind of leadership.

  4. March 1, 2012 9:11 pm

    She shouldn’t be just apologising, she should be resigning with immediate effect. Such behaviour is inexcusable and an abuse of power. Rape is rape. It’s never the victim’s fault. End of.

  5. June 8, 2012 2:50 pm

    fucking hell……how stupid and dumb that CM is.I am still astonished that how can a well educated woman give such idiotic remarks.

  6. Rachel Tottle permalink
    December 23, 2012 4:42 pm

    There should be alterations to this article, this particular quote is disgusting;
    “Many fingers have pointed towards this this woman, and people have said she should not have got into a car with 5 strange men. Perhaps.”

    I understand that this was perhaps implied in from a safety point of view, however it seems to imply that she was somewhat responsible for the crime that was then inflicted on her. Very irresponsible writing.

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