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Minister From Kerala Says Women Who Have Self Respect Will Want To Die If Raped. Oh Shut Up Already

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What will it take for people to see, believe in and fight for the cause of women? We are stalked, touched, raped, treated like a punching bags and after everything is said and done, shamed and blamed. And let’s face it, this coronavirus-induced lockdown hasn’t exactly worked in the favour of women. On the contrary, actually. However, our brilliant (and by that, I mean chauvinistic and sexist) politicians don’t see the problem. The way our government officials talk about women or anything that relates to us makes the bile rise into my throat. The latest politician joining the ranks of idiocy and ignorance is Congress president in Kerala, Mullappally Ramachandran. According to this man, if a woman with self-respect is raped she will either die or avoid getting raped again. I am starting to believe that our politicians can’t hear the utter shit that comes out of their mouths. 

Mullappally Ramachandran made headlines on Sunday for his misogynistic remarks. He was speaking at an agitation launched state-wide by the Congress-led UDF against alleged corrupt practices of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. He comments were allegedly aimed at a woman who was involved in the solar scandal. This woman has reportedly accused a Congress leader of rape. Ah, no wonder this man is so butt hurt and eager to blame everything on the woman. 

The former Union Minister said, “Every day when she wakes up, she claims she was raped. A woman who says she was raped across the state, she’s dressed up and made to stand behind the curtain. She keeps asking when she should come out. Chief Minister, your game will not work here. This blackmail politics will not work here. The people of Kerala can understand it. As you (CM) drown and die, if you thought you can bring a prostitute and make her cook stories, Kerala is tired of hearing it…we can understand if a woman says she was raped once. Any woman with self-respect will either die or prevent being raped again. But, she keeps crying she was raped again and again all over the state. Senior police officers told me that you are planning to play politics by keeping such a woman in front.”  

Let me get this straight. He is calling an alleged rape victim a prostitute. Really? So, a woman has accused another member of his party of rape so she automatically becomes a prostitute. Also what kind of a message is he trying to send by saying that self-respecting women will die or avoid being raped again? Why is he glorifying the suicide of rape victims? And what woman doesn’t want to avoid being raped? This Congress “leader” needs a desperate reality check. His statements clearly mirror his mentality and that speaks volumes about our politicians in general. Instead of blaming the victim to divert the heat on the accused, there needs to be an investigation. Politician or not. 

KK Shailaja, state women and child development minister called Mullappally Ramachandran out for his problematic comments. She called his remarks “dangerous” and “inappropriate”. In a statement, she 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 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.”  

This prevalent practice of blaming the victim for rape instead of the rapist is messed up and needs to be done away with. Our politicians don’t seem to understand the urgent need to empower women and that starts with not shaming them. What needs to die is this mentality. Saying that this is problematic would be terribly downplaying the situation.  

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Of course, after the backlash, Mullappally Ramachandran expressed regret over his statements and issued an apology. He said, “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.” Wait, aimed at anyone in particular? Are there any men around that would rather die after being raped? 

Those remarks were not “misinterpreted” as misogynistic in “certain quarters” they were misogynistic in all quarters. His weak defence did not even begin to repair the dents his comments made. No matter what he was trying to prove, he blamed a rape victim for getting raped and then not having enough self-respect to die. He is just another man trying hard to prove that women are responsible for rapes and the men should be let off the hook. What’s new? He is not the first politician to make this claim and there is no doubt in my mind that he won’t be the last.

If this is how our politicians view rape victims, how is the situation in our country for women going to get any better?

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