(Monideepa Banerjie is NDTV's Resident Editor based in Kolkata.)
When I first saw Suzette Katrina Jordan, she was a silhouette. The back-lights were strong, highlighting her cloud of curly her. Her face, in shadows.
That was in February 2012, days after she summoned the courage to go to the police and lodge a complaint that she had been raped. I remember her telling me the police sneered at her for complaining some four days late. But Suzette fought the sneers, the "your fault" comments - why were out so late on your own? Why were you in a pub alone? Why did you get into a car with strange men?
She fought all that. But she was still a silhouette.
Then Kamduni happened. A college-going girl was brutally gang-raped and murdered on Kolkata's outskirts on 7th June.
Days later, Kolkata was on the streets and among the many faces in the march was Suzette, banner in hand. I dived at her with a mike and shot off my questions, but I prefaced a couple with "Suzette, what do you think" etc.
I stopped mid-way. "Oops," I said, "We would have to do it all over again. I mentioned your name. We can blur your face but I can't take your name," I said.
She gave the interview again and said, "I am sick and tired of being called the Park Street rape survivor." We had started calling her "survivor" after she said she could not tolerate the term "victim". So she said, "I am sick and tired of being called the Park Street rape survivor. I am Suzette Jordan."
She also said to me, "I thought my situation... what happened to me... was the worst thing that could happen to anyone. But look at the girl from Kamduni. She died. They killed her."
I asked her what she felt about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's "sajano ghotona" comment, that the whole rape incident was "fabricated". "People make mistakes, you know," she said. "She made a mistake. I don't hold it against her."
Over the last three years, almost to the day, I met Suzette many times, at her home, at my office. She was indomitable, determined to fight for justice though the legal process dragged. The main accused is still absconding. She told me how in court, the three accused and their parents abused her, cajoled her to drop the case.
But she fought on. Without resources. Three years, no job. Her mother lived with her, besides her two daughters. Her mother's brother in Australia sent her money. Her daughters' school fees were waived. She was celebrated across the country, speaker here, speaker there. But no end to hard times.
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