Bhavana breaks silence, says will fight till end

Actress Bhavana (Photo: insta)

Actress Bhavana Menon broke her silence on sexual harassment and her fight for justice, which led her to lock horns with some of the powerful people in the Malayalam film industry. She refused to name the actor who has been accused of perpetrating the crime but made it crystal clear that she would fight till the end. She was one among the speakers in the ‘We The Women’ event titled ‘The Global Townhall’. While talking to Barkha Dutt, Bhavana explained the trauma and emotional struggle that she underwent during the last five years.

“ My whole life turned upside down. I was constantly searching for something to put the blame on. I used to think that it was a long nightmare. I was blaming myself following the incident. The court proceedings started in 2020. I had to be there in the court for 15 days. Many people stood by me during those days of agony. '' But I was totally alone at the court. And I felt devastated. But then I realised that I must fight. I realised that I had done nothing wrong. I realised that I should prove my innocence. When I came out of the court on the 15th day, I felt I’m a survivor and not a victim. My mind convinced me that now, I’m a survivor,” said Bhavana.

Bhavana has stated that she has come out in the open to speak of her experiences because she wants to fight for dignity and justice and her battle is not only for herself but for all the girls and women who have had similar experiences. '' Quite often the perpetrators are back into normalcy very fast. But the victims find it tough to lead a normal life. Let us bring back the victims to have a normal, peaceful life .''

“ Five-year-long journey was very difficult for me. Some people were blaming me for the incident and alleged it was a fake case. There was negative propaganda on social media claiming that I lodged a fake complaint. They were saying it was premeditated. I was broken into a million pieces. I wanted to stand up and face my life but such incidents were pulling me down. My parents were insulted. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I’m not a person to do such things. I received messages asking to kill myself and warning me ‘You are going to pay for this,” she explained.

“I’m grateful to those who stood by me. I must say, opening up about the incident through Instagram was cathartic. I want to prove my innocence. I want to retain my dignity. Let me fight, let me prove that I didn’t do anything wrong,” she added.

Talking about her return to films, she revealed that resuming work as an actress was not an easy task for her.

“I was traumatized to return to films. I was denied work in Malayalam films. When I started working, I continued to focus on other languages. But some of my good friends in the Malayalam industry like Aashiq Abu, Prithviraj, Bhadran sir, Jinu Abraham, Shaji Kailas and Jayasurya approached me with offers.I turned them down because I couldn't come back to this industry and work as if nothing happened. I was not in the right state of mind. Now, I have also started listening to Malayalam scripts," she revealed.

"I have to thank my family, my husband, friends, and audience. I will continue to fight this until the end. When I was in court for 15 days, I felt very lonely. I realized that I have to fight it out. Apart from that, I should thank all those who stood by me,” she added as revealing her emotional struggle.

“Now, I just ignore all allegations against me over the case. Because I‘m confident that I didn’t do anything wrong,” she added.

The actress also pointed out the importance of supporting people like her who are not afraid to reveal their identity as a survivor. She said that she decided to fight because she was not worried about the outcome.

As a society, we should encourage people who open up in public about their trauma and issues. I think it should be normalized, said Bhavana.

“So many women are scared to open up about such incidents. But living with it is horrifying. I received many messages from women who faced similar incidents. In their message, they say I represent them. But some of their experiences are really horrifying. I felt really sad after reading their stories. I want to tell such people to voice against it.They have kept this pain, this trauma, within themselves because they are scared to open up. They are scared this will affect their life, their career. Living with it is horrific. If I didn't file a complaint what would have happened to my life? That was horrifying to think about. I would rather give a strong fight without worrying about the outcome than see people walk away without punishment,” added Bhavana.

The actress was abducted and sexually assaulted by a gang of goons in 2017 and the assault was filmed to blackmail her.

( Bhavana's name has been used in this report with her consent )

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