Dear Bhavana, Your Voice Matters

I just want to say this, not just as a fan but as a woman who shares this land and society full of insensitive men and women who uphold rape culture with you, your voice matters.

I read your interview in Vanitha magazine where you boldly spoke about what happened to you on that fateful night. You said that you have nothing to hide and that your conscience is clear. You ended the interview with profound words and few of them inspired me as a person and I am proud of the way you are fighting back. You said, “as women, don’t give up. It is not you but people who attacked are to be blamed. You didn’t lose dignity, they did“.

I grew up watching you on-screen. I was 10 years old when I saw you in the song “karupinazhaku” where you danced next to Meera Jasmine and shined with gracefulness and elegance. My cousin and I watched that song several times in one go, just to see your smile. I enjoyed watching your performance in “nammal”, “deivanammathil”, “Robinhood” and the Tamil films where you made an impact.

You went through the biggest horrors of your life and I can only imagine how you felt especially when those men thought that they had the upper hand. But, you chose to fight back. In this country, a woman who is molested is treated as a statue meant to be burnt. She is questioned, she is condemned and shamed. In spite of strict laws, due to the aftermath which involves unethical media and insensitive people, especially by those sitting in a powerful position, most women stay mum, but you are fighting back.

Your voice matters.

As someone who looks up to you, as someone who admires you, your voice matters.

For all women, who are convinced that their life is finished when something like this happens to them, your voice matters.

For all those lascivious men, who believe that they have something heroic when they subjugate women against their will, your voice matters.

When our country, has men like Abu Azmi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, and G Parameshwar and women like Sheela Dixit and Asha Birje, sitting in powerful positions while revealing their misogynistic and victim-blaming remarks, your voice matters.

When victims are treated as the accused, your voice matters.

In a country where women’s mobility is restricted to a painful degree in the name of safety while lascivious and ego-centric men have too much of liberty, your voice matters.

In a country where raping and molesting a woman is seen as a normal phenomenon and part of the culture, your voice matters.

Where channels and newspapers, wait for the biggest sensation while reporting a sexual abuse case and when they ignore law and ethics, your voice matters.

When filmmakers make money exhibiting misogyny on-screen, your voice matters.

When films shaming and victimizing rape survivor, with usual social cliches, like how it is shown in Kaabil, Paruthiveeran, Raavanan, Butterflies, Lion, etc, is exhibited especially to those women who are survivors themselves, your voice matters.

I am so sorry you had to go through all this but your fight is what matters. Just don’t give up and no matter what the powerful people say, you are a human being with integrity and autonomy as opposed to being a “vessel”, “cars” and “flowers”.

You matter and your voice matters because courage is what you showed. Just live your life to the fullest. Stay strong and keep smiling. Can’t wait to see you back on screen and on public platforms.

– A proud fan

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