Trigger warning: This article mentions sexual assault.
In 2017, actress Bhavana Menon was kidnapped by a group of men and sexually assaulted in her car. Actor and producer Dileep was named as the main accused according to multiple sources in the investigation of the shocking case. Now 5 years after the case, the Malayalam star has broken her silence. Opening up about her traumatic experience and its aftermath, she talked about her “journey from being a victim to becoming a survivour.”
“This has not been an easy journey,” Bhavana Menon wrote in a post on Instagram in which she revealed that attempts were made to silence her over the years.
And it highlights everything that’s wrong with the male-dominated, misogynistic entertainment industry. It reads, “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 committed the crime, there have been many attempts to humiliate, silence and isolate me.”
Talking about the support she received, she added “Now when I hear so many voices speak up for me I know that I am not alone in this fight for justice,”
“To see justice prevail, to get wrongdoers punished and to ensure no one else goes through such an ordeal again, I shall continue this journey. For all those who are standing with me- a heartfelt thank you for your love,” she concluded her post.
After the statement began doing the rounds of social media, many actors and directors from Bollywood and the South Indian entertainment industry including Zoya Akhtar, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Konkona Sen Sharma, Supriya Menon and more came forward to show their support and solidarity. Sharing her post, Prithviraj wrote “courage” while Akhtar wrote, “More power to you” in an Instagram story.
Following the investigation in the sexual assault case, Dileep was accused of paying the group of criminals to attack the actress. While the producer was arrested he was only held in jail for approximately three months as per reports in the Indian Express. The trial is still ongoing and Menon has asked the Kerala CM to order a probe into multiple allegations against Dileep.
Cover image: Bhavana Menon/Instagram