Poonjar MLA PC George is known to be an outspoken politician. Perhaps he let all the compliments on his oratory go to his head - because PC George sure could do with some shutting up.
Speaking at a conference in Alappuzha, the Independent MLA who has been insisting that Dileep is innocent in the Malayalam actor abduction and assault case, went a step ahead and made spectacularly insensitive comments about the survivor.
Claiming that he had serious doubts on the police's investigation, PC George asked how the survivor could have gone to work the next day if she had been assaulted more brutally than 'Nirbhaya,' as the prosecution had argued in court.
According to PC George, all of this is an elaborate conspiracy against Dileep. That is, PC George actually believes that the survivor has lied about what happened, despite the medical evidence which has confirmed that she was assaulted.
Two courts - the Angamaly court and the Kerala High Court - have denied bail to Dileep in the case, citing that the crime is heinous in nature and that there is enough evidence to show that the actor could be involved in the alleged conspiracy.
Further, PC George seems to be under the illusion that he's an authority on what assault survivors are allowed to do after the crime. It's besides the point that the survivor in question did not actually go back to work the day after the incident. But what if she had?
Because, dear PC George, that's what many survivors of assault in the country do. They pretend that nothing has happened. In a patriarchal society like ours, where the shame of rape lies with the victim and not the perpetrator, it's not surprising that the crime is heavily under-reported.
Going by the poisonous and misogynistic statements that men like the MLA, producer Saji, and other stalwarts from the film industry have been making about the case, it's easy to see why survivors of sexual violence prefer silence and anonymity to actually fighting for justice.
Indeed, as the Women in Cinema Collective has acknowledged, this is not even the first time that such an incident has happened in the industry. It is the first time that someone has decided to report it.
What really changed the game in this particular case was the survivor’s conviction that the crime should be reported, that she was not guilty of bringing this unspeakable violence upon herself, and that the shame was not hers. It was here that the perpetrators made their miscalculation - they assumed that she would be broken, too traumatized and too afraid of the consequences to register a complaint.
They, in fact, pictured a victim that PC George believes would be ideal. Someone who would be too shattered to raise her head ever again.
Let's not forget that the survivor in the case is a privileged woman who has voice, visibility, and the resources to fight this unsavoury battle.
The media, too, has largely not indulged in character assassination, although some channels did report about the crime with voyeuristic details and revealed her identity, too.
If this is how society treats her, one can imagine how much worse it gets when the survivor comes from a less privileged background.
One is not sure what "special" evidence PC George has about the case to deliver his expert opinions time and again. If he has any information that will stand in court, he should present it. Or else, he should stop shooting his mouth off about the case under the misguided belief that he's doing his friend a favour.
Not only should the Women's Commission take note of the MLA's words and take action, it's also the duty of the public to remember his behaviour. The political class may not react but let's not forget that it's we, the people, who vote these men to power.
A decade ago, PC George's statements might have been met with tolerance if not acceptance. Not any more. Enough is enough. Shut up, PC George.