Asha Mirje, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in western Maharashtra state of India, has outraged her fellow women in her country by stating that women were “responsible to an extent” for rape and that their “clothing and behaviour” played a part.

Mirje made the statements when she was questioning why a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012 was out late at night.

She also commented on a photojournalist who was gang-raped while on assignment at the abandoned Shakti Mills in Mumbai last year.

“Did Nirbhaya ( the 23-year-old student, not her real name but used to protect her identity) really have to go watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang rape case. Why did the [survivor] go to such an isolated spot at 6pm?” news channel NDTV quoted her as saying.

“Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behaviour and her being at inappropriate places,” she added.

After receiving backlash from other women activists and politicians, Mirje later apologized, saying it was her “personal opinion”.

“The complete comment was not taken. Only a part of it was projected. I was not blaming the women for rape. I had said that since we are in period of transition, we have to be extra cautious,” she said.

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  • Pema

    I’ve been to India. It truly is another world. Her opinion doesn’t surprise me at all.

  • ETC

    This woman has truly internalized misogyny. Rape and sexual abuse are NOT about what you wear, how old you are or being at a certain place at a certain time. Many times rapists are men that know their victims from class, work, living area or through friends. Rapes can happen anytime and anywhere. For example, I had a male classmate who I used to study with in college. Later on, he told me that he liked me. I told him I only saw him as a friend and that we should just focus on our studies. Well when we were leaving the library one evening, he attempted to rape me in the elevator, but let go of me when I said “this won’t make me like you”. All I can remember to this day are his eyes, they were wild and animal like. To be honest, I think men who rape do so to exert power, or to reduce the hurt they feel in their ego when things don’t go the way they hoped. They are truly cowards who can’t accept when women refuse them, in one way or another. To this day, I do not enjoy being around male friends by myself unless the person is in a very serious relationship or they are gay. I know this is kind of wrong and not all men are like this, but that experience(along with sexual harassment incidents) have led me to have a certain contempt for men as whole. Deep down inside, I just can’t stand a lot of men I encounter at work, through friends, on the streets etc. I feel that not the majority, but a good amount of men are “simple minded” and can’t handle non-sexual, diplomatic conversation with women or those they see as beneath them”. Sorry for the long rant.

    • Anthony

      @ETC, I wish I could say what happened to you was rare, but you know what happened to you is way too common. I am glad that you are doing what makes you comfortable. Your peace of mind is the most important thing.

    • Courtney H.

      That’s scary! I definitely agree with all your points! I hope that you are receiving some kind of therapy. And don’t apologize for the “long rant.” I am glad that you told us all your story. It gives us a lot of perspective on the issue.

    • ETC

      Thank you for the kind words Anthony and Courtney! I am definitely not trying to live a PC life like before. I am just doing what feels right. Also, I did receive some therapy for general traumas experienced in life and it was helpful. It was really great to get this story off my chest. Thanks for listening :)

  • Kylie

    Obviously I don’t agree with her, but that way of thinking is just a part of there culture. Women are taught to cover up unless it’s for their husbands. So, of course she thinks like this. This why rape victims get punished, because the idea is that they did something to provoke it. Sad, very sad.