Rape Survivor Denied Entry Into Restaurant In Kolkata! When Will This Culture Of Victim Blaming End?

Posted on September 15, 2014 in Gender-Based Violence, Society, Specials, Taboos

By Himel Sarkar:

Suzette Jordon is your average Calcuttan, but she is known in Calcutta by another name – The Park Street Rape victim. Her rape was politicized left, right and center. She was asked what a mother was doing in a bar. And if she was, why didn’t she expect it. She was labelled a prostitute. She was accused of concocting a story to defame law enforcement. In India, where rape survivors are usually in hiding and do not reveal themselves because of the stigma associated with it, she reportedly told a radio station, that introduced her as the Park Street Rape Victim, - “My name is Suzette Jordon. Rape is not my identity.”

Suzette Jordan (in cap and goggles) in an anti-rape rally in Kolkata. AFP Photo/Dibyangshu SARKAR
Suzette Jordan (in cap and goggles) in an anti-rape rally in Kolkata. AFP Photo/Dibyangshu Sarkar

When she wanted to go out to eat with her fiancée, she was denied service at a restaurant in Calcutta. The restaurant was Ginger in Hazra, Calcutta. Today, we know why it’s difficult to be a woman in India. And if we allow them to get away with this, we are propagating rape culture as well. Let’s show them they won’t. Let’s get people talking about this. Let’s get the media down there. Let’s flood their restaurant with OB vans and reporters. Let them explain to the world why someone who has been subjected to a crime, and who did not choose it, is denied service. Call your local TV station, no matter where you are. Call your radio station. Call whoever you can. Tweet about it. Let’s make some noise this time. Please, let’s make some noise this time.

We know that she is not alone. We know that there are similar stories out there. We know that around the country, women keep getting asked the same questions - “What were you doing out so late?”, “Why did you go for the night shift?”, “What were you wearing?”, “Why did you talk to him?”, “What kind of a woman goes to a bar?” etc.. The stories are recurring, perpetual and continue to haunt rape survivors till the day they die. Constantly reminding them that something permanently damaging has happened and that now they are impure, unclean and unfit for social life.

Perhaps we should not be surprised. Perhaps we should know better than to look at it as anything other than an endemic cultural phenomenon. A disease. We know this exists. We know it’s there and we know it’s eating us alive. It speaks about us as a society when we give rapists so much power. When we reduce women to that one night. When we reduce women who have spent their entire lives being something or doing something to that one incident, we’re giving rapists too much power. That is why there are rapes. We need to take that power back.

Let’s ensure that women is India do not have to go inside a shell after they’re raped. Let’s stand in solidarity and support those who fight against rape culture. If this fizzes out, no one will ever fight again. Help this spark to ignite a fire. If this outrages you even a little bit, do not let this fizz out. Let’s bring these people down. Let’s bring rape culture down. If you agree with us, tweet us at #BoycottGinger and help start the revolution. Help start a conversation. Help us get our voices out there. Help us believe in a better tomorrow. And most importantly, help us send a message.

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