My Mother, The Rebel: Tearjerking Tribute By Suzette Jordan's Daughter To Her Mom

17/03/2015 5:29 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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GOA, INDIA - NOVEMBER 8: (L - R) Rape victim Suzette Jordan talks on 'The Beast In Our Midst - Rape Survivors Speak Their Stories' during the opening day of THiNK 2013 at Bambolim on November 8, 2013 in Goa, India. (Photo by Santosh Harhare/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

She'd drink, she'd smoke, she'd sometimes get into my clothes too. She had 21 tattoos and a whole lot of scars from mutilation, she was a rebel, and she never had a permanent job....

This is how a young Rhea Jordan described her mother in an essay for a school assignment shortly before her death.

A women's rights activist and a rape survivor, Suzette Katrina Jordan refused to be labelled as a victim. A fighter and a mother, Suzette died of meningoencephalitis in a hospital in Kolkata on March 13, 2015. In February 2012, Suzette was gangraped in a moving car in Kolkata's Park Street. A year later she boldly revealed her identity on news channels. "I am tired of hiding my real identity. I am tired of feeling scared because I have been raped," she told BBC.

Suzette's young daughter Rhea recently wrote a touching essay about how she wanted to be like her mother.

"Inspiration comes from people who work hard enough to win Nobel prizes, people who raise money for charity for different causes, people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, also the one too many soldiers who gave up their lives to fight for this country. Everyone aspires to be one of these people, but my reality is different. The only person I dreamed to be like is my mother," she wrote in the essay first published by The Ladies Finger.

Indian laws do not permit the publicising of the name of a rape victim, but after the rape incident in Kolkata's Park Street area, Suzette had campaigned against the isolation survivors of sexual assault suffer and wanted the public to know her real name. I am "Suzette Jordan, and not the Park Street rape victim," she famously said.

In the touching ode, Rhea writes, "Words fall short and pages less, to describe the woman I was brought up by. She was the only person I know who has from the beginning till the very end been true to herself, and learned from her mistakes, even though she made one too many of them."

Then in her mid-30s, she had appeared on countless TV talk shows and identified herself after she was raped inside a moving car in Park Street on February 6, 2012, by five young men who picked her up from outside a pub.

You can read the full text of her letter here.

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