Kolkata’s Park Street rape victim, known for her vocal outcry against the injustices done to her, chose to reveal her name and identity at a rally organised by a network of women’s organisation on Tuesday. “I’m tired of being referred to as the ‘Park Street Rape Victim’. I have my own identity, and I don’t see the harm in speaking out in my own voice,” said the 37-year-old. For her, it was an entirely spontaneous reaction.
“I’m not the one who should be ashamed,” said the mother of two daughters who has been helping others like her through tough times - at a help-line called Survivors for Victims of Social Injustice - since May this year.
In the past, there has been outrage when politicians, newspapers and even social activists unwittingly revealed names of rape victims, who activist Santasree Chaudhuri likes to call survivors. However, today’s survivor had the supportive hand of friends helping her take this life-changing decision. “Santasree has walked with me, and worked with me and really helped me through all this. We even went to Kamdoni together on Saturday,” said the braveheart.
Having helped heal many other survivors over the years, Santasree was particularly keen to do something for the girl from her own city in her hour of need. “We clicked instantly. I tried very hard to help heal her. Now, she is no longer a victim, she’s an activist. When she came here with me today, I told her not to wear a mask and just come as herself,” said Santasree, at Tuesday’s rally.
Nearly 300 people turned up at Kolkata’s Metro Channel on Tuesday afternoon, from where the rally, organised by Maitree, a network of about 36 women’s organisations, marched to the Academy of Fine Arts.
One of the rally’s organisers, Payashmi Mitra, said, “I don’t think we should exceptionalise rape. I realise the need to keep a victim’s identity secret, but when she has the strength to tackle all its implications, I don’t see any point in wanting to hide it.”