The power to speak for oneself, the power to come out strong and brave in public, and the idea to normalize sexual assault victims speaking out is the need of an hour. This is what Malayalam actress Bhavana Menon tried to deliver at ‘We the Women Global Townhall 2020’, a show hosted by journalist Barkha Dutt on Mojo Story. In 2017, the actress was allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a group of men when she was returning from Thrissur to Kochi from a shooting location.
The news came out as a jolt because after investigation Malayalam actor Dileep was accused of the incident. Bhavana never came out in public after the whole incident but recently during an interview with Barkha Dutt, she spoke about the assault and how it affected her life.
The actress spoke about the turmoil and how she kept looking for answers for what happened to her and why people made her a target. She said, “When it happened, my whole life turned upside down. My mind was constantly searching for somebody or something I can put the blame on. It was constant chaos in my mind… Why did this happen? Why me?… So many questions…’’
Recalling the dreadful and horrific incident, she shared how her dignity was shredded into a million pieces. Speaking about the trial which began three years after the incident in 2020, she shared, "When my trial began, I had to go to court for 15 days. It was a different, dramatic experience altogether. On the 15th day of the trial, I came out of the court feeling like a survivor."
She added, "I am not just standing up for myself, but also for the dignity of all the girls who come after me. That was the time my mind convinced me that I am a survivor, not a victim."
Speaking on the show, Bhavana also mentioned that her friends from the industry supported her throughout while others blamed her for traveling late in the night. She further shared how it become difficult for her to work in the Malayalam film industry because she wasn’t in the right frame to work. Concluding her statement the Malayalam actress said that fighting for justice is never easy, but she would continue to give a strong fight without worrying about the outcome.