While many women are struggling with the increasing cases of rape, it is heartbreaking how even in the 21st century there are many who blame the victim. Rather than holding the rapists accountable, they tend to blame the rape victims and their parents. What is worse is that lawmakers also indulge in this behavior.
Recently, a shameless statement was made by Mullappally Ramachandran, the state Congress president in Kerala, that left many angry and disappointed. He made appalling, misogynist remarks aimed at victims of rape at a protest meeting in Thiruvananthapuram. Though he tendered his apology soon after but still, it shows a lot about our victim-blaming mindset.
As a part of an agitation launched state-wide by the Congress-led UDF against alleged corrupt practices of the LDF government, Ramachandran said,
Every day, this woman would wake up saying she has been raped by someone. No one can trust a woman like her. If you (Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan) think you can get an adulteress to target us, people of the state won’t believe it. If someone says it happened once, it’s understood, but she says everyone raped her.
A woman with self-respect would end her life if raped or will try to prevent it from happening again
If someone says it happened once, it’s understood, but she says everyone raped her. A woman with self-respect would end her life if raped or will try to prevent it from happening again: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullappally Ramachandran https://t.co/GK7t33rns4
These comments were allegedly aimed at a woman involved in the solar scandal who recently accused a Congress leader of rape.
Slamming Ramachandran for his remarks, calling them ‘inappropriate’ especially coming from a senior politician like him, KK Shailaja, state women and child development minister, said:
“He says if women who are raped have self-respect, they will kill themselves. Is rape a woman’s fault? Are women not committing suicide because they lack self-respect? A woman subject to rape is not a criminal. The people committing the rape are the criminals. They must be punished. Women experience great physical and mental trauma. To say that they must kill themselves speaks of a person with a dangerous mind. This is completely wrong,”
After many relayed the sexist tone of his speech, Ramachandran, a former union minister and seven-time MP, expressed regret:
“If these remarks were characterised as being aimed at anyone in particular, I express my regret. If these remarks were misrepresented as anti-women in certain quarters, it is not right. I said it only to prove the depths to which this (LDF) government has fallen,”
At IFORHER, we are ashamed of how a lawmaker can make such a statement.
In the times, when we need to raise better men to be more respectful of women, this statement is an ugly reminder of how powerful people still promote the regressive patriarchal mindset.