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Victim Shaming in Entertainment Industry

Victim Shaming in Entertainment Industry

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With cases like Dr Ford, Kevin Spacey, Tanushree Datta, Meesha Shafi and the likes, several renowned people have taken to social media and other platforms to voice their concern about the growing epidemic that is sexual harassment.

Veteran Pakistani actor Adnan Siddiqui has also voiced his concern regarding the epidemic that continuously seems to be dividing the globe into supporters and blamers.

Siddique has urged all women to take to whatever platform that comforts them and come forward with their stories if any. He has encouraged them to brave through the turmoil and share their narratives with the world.

He wrote: If you notice/experience anything that’s not favourable, or if someone tries to abuse or harass you please speak up. By keeping quiet you’re encouraging the culprit to continue with what he does. If today god forbid it’s you, tomorrow it would be someone else.

He also says: I feel, we must empower women to speak up against a crime they’ve been subjected to. Instead of putting allegations on them, trolling them, we must be empathetic towards them. Help them heal. Help them come out in the open and nab the culprits. Help the world become free of any abuse and harassment. Women are the torch bearers of tomorrow.

 

 

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Hello people, just a little stressed due to something personal. Didn’t feel like doing anything. Thought would write something, absolutely abstract thoughts, let’s see how it goes. I’ve recently read about a few cases sexual abuse, harassment, abduction and street crime across the globe. They’ve been on the rise in the last few days. In Pakistan street crime was in check for quite sometime but apparently has started again. There are quite a few female journalists in India who’ve come out and openly spoken about various kinds of abuse they’ve faced or crime they’ve been subjected to. I read some stories on twitter and though I was quiet, it was bothering me. I’ve read a few stories about various crimes in Pakistan also recently. While some of them took a really long time to speak up, I must have say it’s a very brave step. I think it requires immense courage to speak against such crimes. We’re progressing and growing then why not work towards making the world free of sexual abuse and harassment. If you notice/experience anything that’s not favourable, or if someone tries to abuse or harass you please speak up. By keeping quiet you’re encouraging the culprit to continue with what he does. If today god forbid it’s you, tomorrow it would be someone else. What pains me is that still there’s a major section of women that don’t speak up. They are quiet due to some or the other pressure. I’m not entirely sure, but I heard Sindh Education and Literacy Department is going to introduce a chapter on harassment which shall be taught in schools. It is indeed the need of the hour and I hope it get implemented worldwide. I feel, we must empower women to speak up against a crime they’ve been subjected to. Instead of putting allegations on them, trolling them, we must be empathetic towards them. Help them heal. Help them come out in the open and nab the culprits. Help the world become free of any abuse and harassment. Women are the torch bearers of tomorrow. I’m reminded of these lines by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “Bol, ke lab azaad hai tere, bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai…”???? . . (Link in bio) . . #empoweredwomen #saynotoabuse

A post shared by Adnan Siddiqui (@adnansid1) on

In his post, he referred to the many cases that have surfaced over the past several months in Hollywood, Bollywood and our local industry. He admires women for coming forward regardless of when and how they chose to do it and encourages the society to create an environment that enables women in dire circumstances as opposed to making something detrimental even harder for them.

Adnan Siddique’s encouraging attitude towards women who struggle with harassment daily can be a learning point for several veteran actors across the globe.

Since Tanushree Datta came forward with allegations of harassment against Nana Patekar, several renowned names such as Amitabh Bachchan have been asked to comment on the matter. However, Bachchan has not only been elusive about the matter but has also completely refrained from associating himself with it whatsoever.

His attitude reveals the hypocrisy of how influential people stress on tabooed topics such as harassment and mental health in their movies, yet are unable to take the right stance in actual real-time events.

Aamir Khan also refused to make any claims until more information was provided. Wanting more information is justified, however, to not comment on harassment as a general problem is just a means to hush more women into silence.

To add fuel to fire, in a 40-minute-long press conference, Rakhi Sawant became an advocate for the accusers defending their cause and calling Datta a liar amongst a drug addict. She claims Datta is an unreliable source and cannot be trusted with the information.

Since Datta took to the press, even Kangana Ranaut has come forward with a claim that the director of her widely popular and critically acclaimed film Queen, Vikas Bahl of sexual harassment. Her coming forward is the result of another actress accusing the director of similar behaviour.

Notice how this statement comes from an overtly bold actress in Bollywood who is known for always speaking her mind. Yet, even she was silenced due to the social pressure of victim shaming. 

Refreshingly, however, Indian director Anurag Kashyap took a stand for Kangana and revealed that he believes her claims to be true. So if he can see light and reason, what excuse to actors such as Amitabh Bachan and Aamir Khan have to not make a statement against harassment?

And in what certainly has become an implosion, just a few hours ago, Bollywood actor Rajat Kapoor also became part of the list of accused.

Two journalists have spoken out against his alleged indecent behaviour. Kapoor has apologized for any misconduct publically.

Finally, we also have All India Bakchod (AIB) the most surprising (or not so much) culprits of all. 

Bear in mind that this is a media agency seemingly in favour of ‘feminism’ and women’s rights. This is eerily similar to Pakistan’s case of Patari, where the CEO Khalid Bajwa had to step down amidst claims of sexual harassment.

Even though harassment shouldn’t be a thing, to begin with, it is a change to see someone apologizing for their behaviour. Maybe this can become a starting point for redefining the seemingly blurry lines of what constitutes harassment in an entertainment industry. Because clearly, some are of the view that harassment is different in Bollywood/Lollywood/Hollywood than in the normal public. Taking the side of the accuser and claiming that there is no evidence only puts down women who struggle and fight off harassment daily. It reveals the true integrity of all those media stars who otherwise claim to be advocates and ambassadors of equality and grace.

Introspection is not the answer. It is important that action is taken and all those accused are put down to their place so that a clear message is not only sent to them but all those who continue to harass powerless women in their respective industries.

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Rida Khalid

An English Literature graduate with a passion for Psychology. An avid reader, writer, poet (self-proclaimed) and part-time fitness trainer. Currently working with NIC, Lahore. I spin words to make my narcissistic wit sound like diffident profundity. The above feels a lot like braggadocio, meh!

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