With many women, across the globe, having come out to share their stories of abuse over the last few weeks and still doing as this is being written, one can hope that the current period is a watershed, that violence against the gender will finally get a dialogue it needs.
#MeToo, a social media campaign began in October to denounce sexual assault and harassment in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Its virality has encouraged several women and men (including Hollywood actors) to go public with incidents of sexual harassment.
But back home, there seems to be only a handful of Bollywood actors, who are ready to come out and share their stories. Actor Kalki Koechlin, in a recent interview, said that women are not provided with a safe environment in the film industry to speak about sexual abuse.
When indianexpress.com asked Neha Dhupia for her opinion on this, the actor, who has never shied away from talking things that matter, said that women should take it as their responsibility to share their incidents, if any, of sexual abuse so that they can save others in the community from going through the same.
“The #Metoo campaign has been quite a trailblazer, everyone has come out and spoken about it but I, honestly, feel that if there is anything to take from this it’s is that if it is happening to someone, they should come and speak about it. By keeping quiet, you are not protecting yourself and in the process also hurting other women. Today, you are the victim and that man has gotten away with, tomorrow there is going to be someone else, who will be the victim and maybe it could be worse. So, I feel you have this responsibility to come out and speak about it, you will not be a victim. You have been through it but the braver thing is to talk about it. And we hear a lot of things as far as the industry is concerned. All I can say is that if it’s happening, it has to be stopped and one of the ways to do that is to talk about it,” Neha said.
Actors like Swara Bhaskar and Irrfan have gone public with such disgusting incidents from their lives but sadly, neither of them named the alleged offender. Irrfan said that he could not take names because those people are at the top. The fear of losing the job is undeniably palpable among the actors. To this, Neha said, “I respect the fact that they don’t want to name the people but someone’s has to be brave and strong enough to talk about it and someone’s got to lead the way and I don’t know who it is going to be but someone has to.”