Victims of sexual abuse struggle to come forward because of the fear of victim-blaming by the society which always finds a way to blame the victim saying that she/he should not have been out at a certain time of day or at a certain location. This is exactly what happened when Kirron Kher chose to comment on the Chandigarh rape case.
If you’re not aware of the news, allow me to enlighten you. On November 17, a 22-year-old girl was gang-raped by three men including her auto-rickshaw driver when she was returning from a stenography class at 7:45 pm. The girl was dumped in a secluded spot after they took turns raping her, according to Hindustan Times.
Kirron Kher was asked about the incident when she was speaking at a Press Club in Chandigarh, in her capacity as a Member of Parliament, when she went on to say that the girl should not have boarded the auto when she saw three men already seated in it.
According to a report in Indian Express, she also elaborated on her statement and said,
“Bachi ki samajhdaari ko bhi main thoda sa kehna chahti hun… saari bachiyon ko.. ki already jab koi teen aadmi baithe hue hain uske andar… to aapko usme bethna nahi chahiye tha….I am saying this to protect the girls.”
(I would like to speak on the smartness of the girl. To every girl, when you can see that three men are already seated in the auto, you should not have boarded the auto.)
She also went on to say that while boys need to be educated to prevent such crimes, girls should be alert and aware too.
Quoting from her own commuting experience and how they would ensure their “safety”, she said,
“Hum log bhi kabhi taxi lete the Mumbai mein… to kisi na kisi ko bhi..jo hamare sath hota tha… usse taxi ka number likha dete the.. because we wanted our safety as girls.. I remember as a girl… so mujhe lagta hai hum sab ko aaj kal ke zamane mein in cheezon ke liye sakhat hona padega.”
(Whenever we took a taxi in Mumbai, we used to let someone know the taxi number …I feel that in these times, we also have to be more careful about these things).
You can watch the video of her statement here:
— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2017
While she did say that boys needed to be educated more and provided a good environment to prevent such crimes. Her blatant victim blaming cannot be excused as it is an irresponsible statement made at a time when women safety is paramount.