Suzette Jordan is fighting a tough battle for surviours of sexual abuse. Jordan was recently denied entry by Ginger, a hotel in Kolkata, for being the Park Street rape victim.
And she has been highlighting the cause of victims of sexual abuse along with her friends Harish Iyer, a social activist and social activist Cindrella Prakash.
“The manager tells me you are the Park Street victim and I cannot allow you in,” Jordan said on Boom News’s show #IndiaHangout.
“I was shocked, I did not know how to respond; he said it out so loud. He repeatedly told me that I cannot be allowed inside because I am the Park Street rape victim. Nobody has ever done this to me. I have faced ostracisation, stigmatisation but never to this extent. And they are showing no remorse or regret for what they have done,” Jordan said.
Boom News tried to get in touch with the hotel management but there was no response till the show went on air.
Namita Bhandare, Gender Editor, Mint, wondered: “what kind of thinking is this in a big metropolitan city like Kolkata? Suzette defies every norm of society; more power to that.”
“You expect rape victims to be rape victims,” Iyer said, and added: “We love tragedy. We treat women as cause not human beings. We fit causes to certain stereotypes.”
Iyer added that the major concern is that victims of sexual abuse, man or woman, are expected to behave in a certain manner.
Prakash was forthright when she said: “Even when the victims want to move ahead, out of it, others don’t seem to allow it. I have even got death threats if I spoke about such issues.”
Iyer added that the society is still unwilling to accept that surviours want to lead a normal life. “The question is – how can surviours be so happy/lead such a normal life? Suzette wants to be more human like you and me.”
Bhandare said that Suzette has every right to live, and she has the right to be happy. “But I don’t think we have moved too much from the concept of honour of women in a patriarchal society. The point is – we need to treat rape as a horrible crime, that’s it. We don’t expect rape victims to get back to normal life.”
Jordan said it is time for everybody to be humane to one another. “But there is still a long way to go.”
Prakash said it is time to start talking to young boys/girls. “We need to drill the idea into people’s heads that no matter what the sex, we are all human beings. Awareness has to start from schools, colleges, hospitals. The result will be seen only in the next generation. It is going to be a long fight.”
While Iyer was of the opinion that human beings will keep abusing other human beings, Jordan said it is definitely not a losing battle. “It is going to take a lot of time to change the mindsets.”
Prakash said: “Some of us are fighting this battle, so bring it on…”
Bhandare pointed out that the conversation is changing and parents need to sensitise children on such issues. “Unless we stamp out sexism, abuse is going to be a problem.”
Iyder had the last word: “Pain is a great binder; we (Suzette, me, Cindrella) are friends; we are looking for a better future.”