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“Coming back to the Malayalam film industry wasn’t easy for me”: Bhavana Menon opens about her journey as a survivor.

a surviving journey

Bhavana Menon has been seen in many Malayalam movies and had her super hits in the early 2000’s. however, for the last 5 years, she took a break from her career as well as her social media. She recently opened up about her journey as a survivor.

In an interview with a media house, Bhavana discusses why she decided to expose his identity at this time, the emotional toll the case has taken on her, why she hasn’t done Malayalam films since 2017, her support system, and more. Bhavana disclosed his identity in January of this year via an Instagram post. She also chose to break her silence in front of the media a few days ago. In a society where the stigma of sexual assault generally falls on the survivor, Bhavana’s choice is a significant step forward in the struggle against patriarchal views on sexual violence.

When questioned about what exactly was running through her mind about the incident, she replied, “I was not even in a mental state to think. I was still processing what happened to me.” I kept asking myself—did it really happen? I was just in shock. I only thought something unfair had happened to me, and I wanted to complain. I did not think beyond that. I kept wondering, did it happen to me? This was my thought process even when my father died. I kept asking myself, “Did it really happen?” Was it true?”

When she was asked about her surviving the trauma, she said “When one goes to court, a person expects that they can just tell their truth and it will be over. But what happened was not something I had expected at all. Through many of the questions — directly and indirectly — it was implied that I had staged it. I’m sure they are doing their jobs, but the onus is on me to prove my innocence. I struggled, wondering why am I being asked this? Why should I explain? It was not just in court, but outside too people were asking why I went out at that time. In my mind I would ask them a counter-question, do you think a woman out at 10 am won’t get assaulted?”

When the actress was asked who stood by her and if she felt secure, she said “When people in the industry came together after the incident and held that event in Kochi, I was thankful to all at the time. But soon, I started seeing people change their stand. Those who said they would tell the truth went back on it. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone. Every morning I can’t wake up and think about who will support me and who will not. These are individual choices they make. I did not give the complaint thinking that the entire industry will stand with me. Coming back to the Malayalam film industry wasn’t easy for me. Initially, I was not in the right frame of mind and could not continue working here as if nothing had gone wrong. But I have accepted a Malayalam movie now, the details will come in some time.”

“Often, we read about those people who diss survivors, I think it is more important to speak about those who are part of the journey, in whatever capacity. I can give a really long list, but surely, I can’t do that in an interview. My only point is that for every survivor, the voices of support from those around are crucial.” She added about the people from the industry who helped her overcome the mental trauma.

While she was questioned about why she appeared more in the Telegu movies than the Tamil she stated “I don’t know why I wanted to stay away, I cannot define or pinpoint that feeling. I felt that I was away from Kerala, living a peaceful life in Bengaluru. Going back on the sets, maybe I felt it will start new discussions.”

Fighting without the support of her family, friends, and many co-workers is a big task, and she wasn’t ready for that in the initial stages. She stated she always had individuals around her reminding her not to be sad; they reminded her she wasn’t wrong. The actress never kept track of the case and made her personal life busy and engaged.

The actress stated that dealing with the trial was not her only routine. She also had to focus on her work and get back to her life. She expresses her gratitude to all the loving emails she’s received and to her friends and family who understand and respect the wall of space she needs from society.

 

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