This article was first published as a post here.
In her recent statements about the rape of a 14-year-old minor, we found Mamata Banerjee guilty of reinforcing rape culture on thirteen counts.
#1 Defend the rapist.
On 4th April, a 14-year-old student was at a birthday party of the son of a local Trinamool Congress leader. Her parents said she was raped and died the following day due to excessive bleeding. When questioned about the incident, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee refused to acknowledge the possibility that her party’s politician’s son might have raped the student.
#2 Cast doubt on the victim’s truth.
#3 Frame the victim or her family as liars.
#4 Question the victim’s “character”.
What Banerjee said: “Are you going to call it rape or pregnant or a love affair? I asked the police. It was a bad thing, and an arrest has been made; but I heard there was a love affair between the boy and the girl.”
#5 Refuse to take rape accusations seriously.
#6 Suggest it was consensual.
#7 Turn the victim or their family into suspects.
#8 Assume that only strangers rape.
What Banerjee said: “Was it an actual rape? Or was she pregnant… Or was she repeatedly slapped? Even her family members knew she was having an affair.”
#9 Use gaslighting tactics to withdraw accountability and defend the rapist.
#10 Blame the victim by suggesting that they were exercising personal liberty and got themselves raped.
What Banerjee said: “If some boy or a girl is having an affair, how can I stop that? This is not U.P. [Uttar Pradesh] that I will start a love jihad programme.”
#11 Ask why rape was not reported earlier.
#12 Brush aside fear of reprisal upon reporting.
What Banerjee said: “If somebody died on the 5th and there was any ground for suspicion or any complaint, then why was not a complaint filed before the police on the 5th itself?”
Worth noting: The accused is the son of a panchayat member affiliated to the tmc. The family says they were forced to not report.
#13 Lay disproportionate emphasis on evidence that cannot be found.
#14 Cover up rapist’s criminal behaviour.
#15 Suggest that victim deliberately destroyed evidence.
What Banerjee said: “You burnt the body.... Where will they get the evidence?”
Worth noting: According to the family, the girl’s body was forcibly taken away by the perpetrators to the crematorium.
Banerjee dehumanised the victim, is treating the victim’s family with apathy, and shielding a rapist. Her behaviour must be condemned. Why should women politicians get any support from women voters if they are not only incapable of supporting women's rights but are actively harming their interests?