A day after a Delhi court stayed the order to hang the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case on January 22, Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat has reacted to the development. The actress, who works actively for the rehabilitation of rape and child prostitution victims feels the news is “demoralising for the women of the country”.
Reacting to the piece of news, Mallika told IANS: “How demoralising I feel it is for the women of this country. Imagine what her parents must be going through!”
Almost every day there are newspaper reports about rape and murder of women from different parts of the country, which highlight how a crime against women is becoming rampant. Are we losing respect for women?
Mallika seems to believe Indian men never respected women. “Did we ever respect women? Indian society is very regressive towards women. When I had tried saying this earlier, a section of the media started attacking me saying Mallika is tarnishing our country’s reputation before the world. But I am a patriot, I love my country, that’s why I draw attention to this issue. I want to see a positive change. The country’s reputation cannot be more important than what is happening with our women. So, my question is, did India ever respect its women? Because if you do, then all these shouldn’t happen — that too regularly. Everybody thought there will be a change after the Nirbhaya case but Nirbhaya has not got justice yet!”
Talking about victim-blaming, which is a common practice in the Indian society, the actress added: “I strongly feel this and I always get into trouble for saying this because people like to think that women are really progressing in India. Nobody supports me when I say no, they are not. Don’t talk about Mumbai or Pune — these are privileged women. Come to the small towns where victim-blaming is a common practice. Rape was inevitable, why did she go out at night? Imagine, people actually say these things! This is so wrong. I think, our mindset needs to change.”
Mallika also pointed out the sad reality about how women have been propagating patriarchy in our country for ages and continue to do so. Drawing from experience at the beginning of her Bollywood career, she said: “Women in our country are very patriarchal. They propagate patriarchy even more. This mindset needs to change. When I started my career with films like ‘Murder’, a lot of bullying that I faced came not from men but from women. I believe in sisterhood, in supporting women and pulling them up. So that came as a shocker to me.”
The actress was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Friends of India’, an initiative by SP Mandali’s WeSchool to felicitate the efforts of individuals who have significantly contributed to the socio-economic and cultural development of India across the globe.