Kerala Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran on Sunday stoked controversy by saying that women who are raped will either die or avoid being raped again if they have self-respect. His remarks were made at a protest against the alleged corrupt practices of the ruling LDF government in Thiruvananathapuram.
Ramachandran was alluding to a woman involved in the solar scandal who had recently accused a Congress leader of rape.
“No one can trust a woman like her. If you (Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan) think you can get an adulteress to target us, people of the state won’t believe it. If someone says it happened once, it’s understood, but she says everyone raped her. A woman with self-respect would end her life if raped or will try to prevent it from happening again,” said Ramachandran.
Kerala Women and Child Development Minister KK Shailaja criticised the remarks, describing them as sexist and inappropriate. “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 the rape are the criminals. They must be punished,” Shailaja said in a statement. “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.”
After receiving backlash, Ramachandran later expressed regret. “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,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
“If my remark has hurt anyone, I am offering my unconditional apology,” he added.