Ostracised by society, hounded by neighbours and shunned by prospective employers, the Park Street rape victim had a harrowing time after she was gang-raped in February 2012 as the trial in the case dragged on amid prying eyes.
The woman, who took on the police as well as the West Bengal government in her fight for justice died of multiple organ failure early on Friday at a state-run hospital in Kolkata.
The 40-year-old had difficulty in paying the fees for her two school-going daughters and was forced to move from her house in central Kolkata to the suburbs, weeks after the February 2012 rape because her landlord would pressure her to pay up or leave.
At one point, she was even thinking of shifting out of the city.
“I do not know what to do now. I have been trying to get a job for the past few months but no one would give me one. I also appealed to the state human rights commission. They too could not help me. I have given interviews, but all they say is that they will call me. The call never comes,” the victim had told HT a few months back.
The Anglo-Indian woman made the headlines after she was picked up in a car from a nightclub in the city’s tony Park Street on February 6, 2012 and raped by five men. Since then, life took a U-turn for the victim, who often spoke her mind on Facebook.
Both her daughters studied in the same English-medium school, one in class eight and the other in class nine. She was unable to pay their school fees after April 2012 but later somehow managed.
“They will not be able to take the examination if the dues are not cleared. I do not know from where the money will come from,” she said.
The horror continued when she thought of shifting out of her apartment in Moulali with people unwilling to let her rent an accommodation.
“Brokers, one after another, let me down. They told me no room on rent was available. No one is saying it on my face but they are not allowing me in,” she had said.
Through the help of an NGO she tried to get jobs in the hospitality industry. But everyone turned her down without a reason. In July she went to state human rights commission but they too could not help.
“After the incident even my neighbors are passing lewd comments. What have I done to deserve this life?” she had said.
Humiliation dogged her regularly. Last year, a restaurant in south Kolkata did not allow her in, allegedly because of her identity as the Park Street rape victim.
Policemen were posted outside her residence after the incident. They were withdrawn later but she feared for herself and her daughters.
“Two of the prime accused are yet to be arrested. They are powerful people and my family may be harmed. Still I trust the police investigation,” she had told HT.
Over the last year, however, she managed to get some financial stability as she joined some NGOs, and spread awareness about rape and other social issues like female infanticide, domestic violence among others.