Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What have women like Suzette Jordan and Jyoti Singh taught us?

Suzette Jordan and Jyoti Singh. These two names are synonymous with courage for most women in our country.

Both these shining stars have shown us the way forward, in a regressive patriarchal violently misogynist society that considers women as the weaker sex. If women in India are lucky to take birth by escaping female foeticide, another form of sexual violence will be waiting for them as they grow. It maybe female infanticide, sexual abuse, dowry death or some other inhumanity, devised by a  patriarchal society.

Suzette's journey from being the 'Park street rape victim' to being Suzette Jordan wasn't easy. She had to come out of the shell she had got into, after the horrifying incident by finding an emollient  for both her physical and emotional wounds. The brave lady recalls her ordeal about the physical examinations which were belittling to being thankfully called 'fair' for her wounds could be easily identified to being shunned as a 'loose character' for daring to hit a pub. Even then the lady courageously took the matter in her own hands and fought for justice. Meanwhile, as she lost her job and since no one was willing to employ a rape survivor, her funds were running out which was taken care of when 'Survivors for Victims of Social Injustice hired her which healed her while she helped, until she breathed her last this March.

While Suzette survived the rape and fought hard against the social stigma that the incident brought, Jyoti didn't live. Her rapists had so badly ruined her body, that she couldn't survive to battle for justice. Much like in Suzette's case aspersions were cast on Jyoti's character with many people blaming her for inviting the rape. They felt that had she locked herself up in her home and not dared to step out in the dark with her male friend, things wouldn't have gone awry. Rape culture! How easily it plays the blame game.

While Suzette walked to the police station to report her rape, Jyoti's friend brought it to the notice of the police. Unlike the hundreds of rapes that go unnoticed both women and especially their families showed exemplary courage to voice their ordeal.

Suzette died due to brain fever in March and Jyoti succumbed to her injuries a few days after the ghastly incident.

Their families are still fighting to get their culprits to the gallows.

Other than being examples of unmatched bravery these women left behind a few important lessons for us.

They told us that no matter how tough it is and how embarrassing it maybe, reporting a rape is the first step.

It is because:

1) Rape is never a woman's fault, no matter what she's wearing, where she is or who was with her at the time of the incident.

2) Rape is a breach of our rights on our body, thus it is a breach of human rights.

3) Consent in a sexual act is most important, and if its missing, it's a crime as per the rule book of the land. It amounts to rape.

Rape is the most deadly nightmare for any woman, may we hope that we reach times when rapes never happen again. But if it ever happens with any of us, whether that has been perpetrated by an acquaintance or friend or a stranger, we must at any cost bring the incident to the police's notice. Because that is the first step towards fighting for justice for a crime that was never the rape survivor's fault and that has breached her rightful ownership on her own body.

"I'm writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s#KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.'

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