'My daughter must be jiving with joy': Suzette Jordan's family reacts to the verdict in her gang-rape case
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The Jordan family in Kolkata has been floating in a state of jubilant joy all afternoon. Suzette Jordan, the “pivot” of their lives and the erstwhile “Park Street rape victim”, was finally vindicated by a city sessions court, which found three men guilty of gang-raping her in 2012. The main accused is yet to be arrested, but today, Jordan’s parents, daughters and siblings only have time for celebrations, prayers and tears of relief.

After five men raped her at gunpoint in a moving car on February 6, 2012, the anonymous victim had to face not just humiliation and stigmatisation from the police and medical workers, but also callous politicisation of her case. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called her case a fabricated incident. Other politicians questioned what a single mother separated from her husband was doing in a nightclub the night she was raped.

In June 2013, the “Park Street rape victim” made headlines again, this time because the woman behind the label decided to cast off her anonymity and reclaim her true identity: Suzette Jordan, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a fighter. She became the first Indian rape survivor to voluntarily reveal her identity, and even as this brought in more difficulties, she went on to fight for the rights of other rape survivors across the country.

On March 13, nine months before her tormentors were declared guilty, Jordan died of a prolonged illness at a hospital in Kolkata. She is survived by her parents, a sister and two daughters aged 17 and 19. Her older daughter Rhea is studying in Class 12, and is keen to become a journalist.

When Scroll.in spoke to Rhea Jordan, she expressed joy and relief at the guilty verdict:

“We are all so ecstatic about the verdict, the joy is like wildfire. My mother was my miracle worker. We were always there for each other. She is probably jumping joy right now – this is what she had been waiting for all these years, right up to the end.

She was not here to see this verdict, so there are a lot of mixed emotions right now. We will be visiting her grave today, we owe it to her.”

Suzette’s father, Peter Jordan, fought tears as he spoke of the delight his daughter would have felt had she been around to witness the verdict:

“We are in ecstasy right now. We were on tenterhooks every since we found out that the verdict was going to be announced today. All of us have been anxious for a while, because there have been so many terrible comments against us and against our daughter. But have also received support from so many people…thank you to everyone!

We were at the court today but just before the verdict was announced we were all asked to leave. The trial had been a closed-room one, but we were not expecting the reading of the verdict to be closed-room too. At least they should have let the family in. But our lawyer eventually came out and told us that all the accused have been convicted and that the sentencing is tomorrow. This is such a wonderful victory!

None of us think about him [the main accused who is absconding] at all. These things are in the hands of god. We will see what happens.

Today we are planning to go to the cemetery and say some prayers and light a few candles for her. We also have a TV interview lined up – I don’t even know which channel!

March [the month in which Suzette Jordan died] was earth-shattering for us. The void she left in our lives was just….unbelievable. I mean, she was the centre of our entire world – she was our earth and moon and stars, the pivot of our lives. Right now, wherever she is, she must be jiving with joy, because she loved dancing.”