Content warning: The stories mentioned in the article contain information about sexual assault & abuse. Reader discretion is advised.
One cannot fathom how traumatic & emotionally devastating going through sexual abuse is. It’s brave to open up about it, and no wonder it takes a lot of courage to call out the offender. A few Bollywood celebs have spoken about such horrific incidents and tried to raise awareness about it.
1. Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone was brave enough to teach a lesson to the molester at the age of 14.
I was 14 or 15. I remember one evening my family and I were walking down the street. We had probably finished eating at a restaurant. My sister and my father walked ahead and my mother and I were walking behind. And this man brushed past me. I could have, at that point, ignored it, pretended like it didn’t happen. I turned back, followed this person, caught him by the collar – I was 14 – in the middle of the street slapped him, and walked away.
2. Kubbra Sait
In her forthcoming book, Open Book: Not quite a Memoir, Kubbra Sait opened up about a soul-crushing incident of sexual assault.
A hand slid to the back seat of the car where I was sitting and slid up my dress. X, who was no longer my uncle, smiled as he rubbed my thigh. I was numb at that moment. He drove down and took me to the hotel. He stroked my face and murmured about how tired I looked. Then, he kissed my lips. I was shocked and confused, but I couldn’t utter a word. This was not supposed to happen, but it was happening. I should have screamed, but I could not. I should have run for help, but I was shell-shocked. He convinced me it was what I wanted, that it would make me feel better. He kept repeating it until I felt deafened, and then he unbuckled his trousers. I was unsure of what exactly was happening, but I remember thinking, I am losing my virginity. It was a big deal, but it was also my shameful secret. Not the kind you could giggle and tell your girlfriends about.
3. Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar shared an uncomfortable sexual experience he had at the age of six and said:
When I was six, I was on my way to a neighbor’s house when the lift man touched my butt. I was really agitated and told my father (Hari Om Bhatia) about it. He filed a police complaint. Investigations revealed that the lift-man was a history-sheeter. The cops took action and the man was arrested. I was a shy kid and was relieved that I could speak about this to my parents. But even today, I find it difficult to say the word ‘bum’. We must encourage women and children to speak up and tell their families if they encounter anything strange so that they can be protected and empowered.
4. Kalki Koechlin
Kalki Koechlin opened up about how she was sexually abused when she was nine. But she imposed how her story should give confidence to people to open up about their experiences.
The reason I spoke out about my sexual abuse is not to get people to feel sorry for me but to give others who have had similar circumstances the confidence to talk about it. I allowed someone to have sex with me at the age of nine, not understanding fully what it meant and my biggest fear after was that my mother would find out. I felt it was my mistake and so I kept it hidden for years. If I had had the confidence or awareness to confide in my parents it would have saved me years of complexes about my own sexuality. It’s important that parents remove the taboo around the word sex or private parts so kids can speak openly and be saved from potential abuse.
5. Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor shared how she was molested at the age of 13 when she was at the movies with her friends.
I know I have been molested when I was younger and it was traumatising. I didn’t speak about it for two years or three years. There was a man who came from behind and just held my breasts like that. And obviously, I didn’t have breasts at that time. I started shaking and shivering and I didn’t know what was going on and I started crying right there. I didn’t speak about it. I just sat there and I finished watching the film because I felt that I’d done something wrong for the longest time,
6. Neena Gupta
Neena Gupta shared an excerpt in her autobiography Sach Kahun Toh where she talked about being molested as a young girl.
One time I visited a doctor for an eye infection. My brother, who was accompanying me, was asked to sit in the waiting room. The doctor started with examining my eye and then went down to check out other areas that were unconnected with my eye. I was scared stiff while it was happening and felt disgusted all the way home. I sat in a corner in the house and cried my eyes out when nobody was looking. But I didn’t dare tell my mother about this because I was so scared that she would say that it was my fault. That I had probably said or done something to provoke him.
7. Fatima Sana Shaikh
Fatima without giving many details shared how she was assaulted at the age of three. She said women fight this battle on an everyday basis.
I was molested when I was five years old. No! I was three years old. So you understand how deep sexism goes. It’s a battle we fight on an everyday basis. Every woman, every minority fights every day. And I hope our future is better. I have faced people telling me that the only way to get a job is through sex. So that has also happened to me. I have lost jobs to someone else for whatever reason.
Read more: 7 Times Women In Bollywood Opened Up About The Casual Sexism They Experienced.