Bhavana Menon: ‘My dignity was shredded to million pieces, life turned upside down'
Malayalam actor Bhavana Menon has talked about the need to speak up against sexual violence.
Malayalam actor Bhavana Menon has said that sexual violence survivors talking about their trauma should be more normalised. The actor said that she was devastated and wanted to get her dignity back after her own experience. She noted that she would now put up a strong fight against the perpetrators without thinking about the outcome out of it.
Bhavana, who made her acting debut with Malayalam romantic drama Nammal in 2002, also said that she received the support of her family, her husband, her friends, as well as the general public as she dealt with the trauma.
She told Barkha Dutt on The Mojo Story, "I was devastated my dignity was shredded to a million pieces. My whole life was turned upside down. It was constant chaos in my mind, I was constantly asking myself why me, one time I used to think that it was a long nightmare and was constantly blaming myself. There were so many times, I desperately wanted to go back to the time before it happened so that I could change everything and my life will be normal again."
Bhavana, who had initially requested to not take her name in reports as the case attracted national attention, added, “It makes me very angry and very sad (that perpetrators of sexual assault get rehabilitated)… It’s not every day that I feel empowered and ready to fight. So many days, I have wanted to give up… We must normalise the idea of the person who has gone through a trauma coming out in public and voicing it out. We must normalise that as a society, normalise that courage.”
Bhavana also opened up about her legal battle, and said that the court trial that happened three years after the assault put her through additional trauma, but she came out stronger from it. She said that after attending the trial for 15 days, she realised that she is a survivor, and not a victim anymore.
Bhavna's comments come after she revealed her identity as the survivor of the sexual attack in a post on her Instagram account in January this year. She wrote, "This has not been an easy journey. The journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor. For 5 years now, my name and my identity have been suppressed under the weight of the assault inflicted on me. Though I am not the one who has committed the crime, there have been many attempts to humiliate, silence, and isolate me. But at such times I have had some who stepped forward to keep my voice alive."
Bhavana Menon was allegedly kidnapped and subjected to sexual assault by a gang of men in 2017 when she was returning home from a shooting location in Thrissur. Malayalam actor Dileep was later accused of being the mastermind of the assault.