Former Bollywood actress Somy Ali, who now leads a non-profit organisation, says she has experienced domestic violence at home and it is important that the taboo against speaking out against such as ill practice is busted.
“I witnessed a great deal of domestic violence in my home as well as my mom’s friends showing up with bruises quite often. It was an accepted norm. As a survivor myself, it was necessary to take a stand against many issues, particularly, the injustice committed against women, children, and men under the guise of cultural norms,” Somy tells IANS.
Somy’s NGO works towards rescuing men, women, and children from domestic violence and has been working non-stop since 2007.
“We will only be able to grow more and save more lives if we educate the world on the stigma attached to speaking about domestic violence and se*ual abuse of children. As a society, we have the power to make that happen and if my organisation grows, inevitably the world becomes a better place for all of us. We need awareness, and we must stop victim-blaming,” she adds.
Somy, who has worked in films such as Anth (1994), Yaar Gaddar (1994), Andolan (1995), and Chupp (1997), draws inspiration from women like Malala Yousafzai and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“These are all inspirational individuals and highly courageous, irrespective of several roadblocks. For me personally, it was my mentor/professor in college during my undergraduate degree, Dr. William Hammack. He always encouraged me and taught me to speak up and helped me find my voice. Additionally, my younger brother has always stood by my side and encouraged me to speak up not just for myself, but for many who continue to remain unheard. These people taught me that I could do anything, and I should never give up. They taught me how to transform into a survivor from a victim mentality,” she says.