- KOLKATA: A rape survivor who took on the West Bengal government in her fight for justice in the case that came to be known as the “Park Street Rape” has died. Suzette Jordan, 40, died of meningoencephalitis at a hospital in Kolkata on Friday.
A single mother of two girls, Suzette had been in hospital for three days.
In 2013, she boldly revealed her identity to the world and marched on the streets of Kolkata to protest a series of rapes and murders in the state.
“Why should I hide my identity when it was not even my fault? Why should I be ashamed of something that I did not give rise to? I was subjected to brutality, I was subjected to torture, and I was subjected to rape, and I am fighting and I will fight,” she said at the time.
In February, 2012, Suzette was leaving a night club on the city’s popular Park Street area when a man who had befriended her offered her a lift home. She accepted but once she entered the vehicle, she was held down and raped and then thrown out of the car.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had taken charge a year before, was widely criticized for commenting that the complaint of rape was a “shajano ghotona” – fabricated.
“I forgive the chief minister. She made a mistake. Anyone can make a mistake and I don’t hold it against her anymore,” Suzette told NDTV.
Others in the state government questioned why she had been at a night club alone and drinking alcohol; Trinamool MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar had suggested she was a sex worker and that the rape was the result of a “dispute between a client and the girl”.
Fighting odds, Suzette took on a job as an online counselor to women who are victims of violence and also became an activist for women’s rights.