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Aditi Rao: Where Does The  Survivor Go In Bollywood?

Aditi Rao

Aditi Rao who has worked with the lately-accused  Ali Zafar in the film London Paris  New York says the issue of sexual harassment goes way beyond any individual.

“We need  to  address certain basic questions regarding the way newcomers are treated in the entertainment industry because  firstly, there is a very  high level of ignorance  existing in  both  the parties.The  perpetrator think he is entitled  to misbehave.The  newcomer or struggler  or aspirant  is so innocent she or he—and let’s not address the  issue only to women but to both the genders—doesn’t even know at times when he or is being  violated.Suppose a man of some age and  experience puts his arms around a newcomer and suppose  the newcomer feels uneasy with the physical  touch , how can he or she  be sure the touch is wrong, that it’s not just a friendly or paternal touch? Such confusions often dilute the  gravity  of  the crime and deflect from getting remedies and  justice.”

Now Aditi comes to the biggest hurdle that sexually harassed  youngsters face  in  Bollywood. “Where do  they go to for redress? Every working  place every organization in India has  a complaint cell for sexual  offences. There’s no such cell  in Bollywood.  The most that  a harassed  individual can do is to complain  to the  producer  or director or share the  trauma with  a friend and then  move on. We need  to set  up a proper grievance cell  for sexual  offences in the film industry.”

Also Aditi feels  the  harassed  person should  feel no fear  or shame in coming  forward with his  or  grievance. “A lot of the times when such an incident happened there is the  fear of being ostracized   by the  film industry,  of  not getting work. That fear should be dispelled. Whenever I’ve faced  situations  that have made me uncomfortable I’ve turned down the project. Have I lost out on good work because  of my refusal to ignore unacceptable behaviour? I may have. But at least I  can look myself into the eye when I  look in the mirror.”

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