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.”