This Indian actress shut down a reporter for telling her to keep quiet about women’s rights.
THE INTERNATIONAL CLAPBACK
As a proud Indian, I am 100% on-board with Sherawat’s comments. Only people who truly love their country are brave enough to criticize it so it can change for the better, instead of letting it go to the dogs and calling that complacency “patriotic”. Indifference toward your fellow Indians “just because they’re women” is not patriotic. It’s callous, sexist, cowardly and heartless.
When I went back to India last year to visit my extended family in Calcutta and Ahmedabad, every single one of my female cousins reported having been sexually harassed in the last twelve months, either verbally or physically, and often in public, because clearly their harassers felt like they had a social mandate to do whatever they wanted to women, with impunity.
One of my teenage cousins broke down crying when she described how a man in a shared rickshaw masturbated in front of her while gripping her thigh with his spare hand. The rickshaw driver didn’t say anything. Nobody did.
Another teenage cousin (15 years old), said she had recently been propositioned by a middle-aged man, who offered her money in exchange for sex. When she pointed out that not only was she not for sale, but also that he was old enough to be her father, he just shrugged and said that was what he liked about her—that she was so young.
What the flying fuck? I was appalled and horrified and enraged, but there was nothing I could do to assuage my sister’s pain, terror and humiliation. Apparently, even child abusers feel free to do anything they want to girls, because they’re “just” girls, and it is widely believed that females only exist for male pleasure, no matter their age.
All the girls I spoke to expressed their sense of paranoia whenever they went out, and their sense of heightened, constant vulnerability. While girls everywhere feel that vulnerability to some extent (and what a bloody tragedy that is), my cousins in India were absolutely sure they would be harassed at some point. They were just waiting for it to happen. Nobody should have to live with that kind of fear. Let alone girls who haven’t even graduated from school.
Things need to change, and they need to change fast. And if that means having high-profile celebrities like Ms. Sherawat speaking out, then I more than welcome their doing so.