Ten years ago, Pakistani-born actress Somy Ali was making a difference to a number of Bollywood movies including Teesra Kaun with Mithun Chakraborty, Chunky Pandey and Riturpana Sengupta; Anth with Paresh Rawal and Sunil Shetty; and Yaar Gaddar with Saif Ali Khan and Shweta. Her name was also once linked romantically with Salman Khan – but of course there’s nothing strange about that!
Now, Somy has returned to live in Florida, where she grew up as a child, and is still making a difference to people’s lives by running an NGO called No More Tears dedicated to helping women in abusive relationships. “I lived in Pakistan. I lived in India. I lived in America. Wherever I lived, I noticed it,” she says. She funds the organisation by running a second business called So Me Designs which sells T-shirts that offer messages of hope and reconciliation on them.
The organisation will rescue the women by putting them in a taxi when the husband is out and lodging them in a motel overnight. They will then mentor them through the process of rebuilding their lives by finding accommodation, work and support. “I am the one who will make sure to wipe her tears. Not only to wipe her tears, but make sure there are no more in her future,” said Ali, “People have this mind set where it’s the victim’s fault, but they just can’t get up and leave.”
It is estimated by the National Violence Against Women survey that as many as 1.5 million American women suffer from domestic violence each year.