Sexual violence against Indian Women is at the forefront of international media and there is constant debate as to why it is so prevalent in India. In a recent interview with German magazine, Brigette, Frieda Pinto disclosed that she too has been groped before. She went as far as saying that, “Every woman I know has been groped. I don’t know any woman who uses public transport and has never experienced it.”
Frieda isn’t the only celeb to speak out about molestation. Dia Mirza, well known for her social activism and community service as well as her Bollywood career, said, “I am not surprised when such things are talked about, because every Indian girl must have experienced or felt paranoid about it — especially in crowded places or while using public transport. The basic problem is to do with the inequality between men and women, and basic social etiquette. As a kid, I was paranoid about visiting exhibition centres with my mother, because I knew there will be sick men around. I was taught how to deal with it, but I’m not sure about millions of other girls.”
Aditi Rao Hydari, Nargis Fakhri, Prachi Desai and Zareen Khan also shared their opinions:
Aditi: “Women’s security is a big issue because people think they have the right to ‘own’ women and so they feel they can do anything without having to worry about consequences. I was groped for the first time by an elderly man on my way to my boarding school. I was travelling in the train with other kids from Delhi and two teachers. I was in Class 8 then. I felt sick and disgusted. For men who believe that women are their entertainment figurines, please know that we’re capable of making you feel far worse than what your acts make us feel like, simply because we’re not going to take this lying down.”
Nargis: “I feel extremely unsafe when I hear of such things. I do what I can to protect myself when I’m outside. No one has the right to take away my freedom to feel safe and be myself. It is the attacker who should feel ashamed. Unfortunately, I’m aware of a few young ladies who have experienced this. It makes me angry to know that this is happening and people are getting away with it. There should be some sort of punishment, and more importantly, women need to be aware of how to handle situations like these.”
Prachi: “Yes, I do feel insecure when such things are spoken about. But we cannot blame only our security system. It is the mindsets of the people that has to change. When we speak of our culture, we only speak highly of our women but don’t treat them in the same manner. And yes, like most of the Indian girls I have been through it as well. I feel respect must be shown, and not just spoken about. This will happen only when citizens of our country realise that unless we treat women with respect, there will be no harmony in society.”
Zareen: “Though we call our country Bharat ‘Mata’, there is actually no respect for females here. It’s high time we stop talking and start taking action to protect our women.
I had a bad experience when I was in school. Since I was an obese kid, I looked a lot older than my age. Once, when I was going to a place in Andheri with my mother to get clothes for a fancy dress competition, a man came towards me and tried to touch my chest. But before he could do anything, I caught hold of him and beat him up. My mother, who was walking ahead of me, was unaware of what had happened. When I told her about it later, she was proud.”
While these stars are doing a great job by raising awareness and supporting women, we are waiting to hear from some of the male celebrities for their opinion. Will they speak out against molestation?