#ActAgainstAbuse: Tolerating Abuse Is Abuse Itself, Says Raveena Tandon

by | September 28, 2020, 17:03 IST

Act against Abuse

Art imitates life and life imitates art! With cinema being the most widespread form of art globally, it has had more impact on life and society than any other art form. Here’s why it’s time for us to look at the way women and her roles are projected onscreen and review its reflection on the mirror of society. For the most part of it, the portrayal of women in Indian cinema has always been the bechari, busy with the kids and the kitchen in life. But things began to change, slowly and slightly, with the introduction of more women-oriented films and roles. The 2001 Daman – a late Kalpana Lajmi directorial – starring the gorgeous and graceful Raveena Tandon, changed the flow of the conversation of women empowerment in cinema. Raveena’s critically-acclaimed and National Award-winning performance of a battered wife minced no words and blurred no lines. For those who’ve seen the film, the victim’s plight and vulnerability were shown, unfortunately, the way it usually is, for several Indian wives.

Act against Abuse

Image: IMdB

Daman came at the time where suddenly, it stood against all those perceptions that were there. It was about a woman who runs away from her husband, who literally, perversely and sadistically beats his wife. He is a sadist and she can’t take it anymore, and she does not take up violence but she runs away and starts her life afresh till the time he traces her down. Which happens most of the time for women who escape abusive marriages. And when it comes to her daughter when she sees the first time he lifts his hands on his daughter, she can’t take it anymore and she actually kills him. Though we were not advocating to go out and kill your husband the fact is that the first time she took the form of Durga and Kali and said that “okay, this is it. I can’t let this kind of thing go on,” Raveena told Femina editor Ruchika Mehta during an exclusive live session for Femina’s campaign against domestic abuse, #ActAgainstAbuse.

Twenty years on, and we’re still in the quagmire of drowning silences and plight of domestic abuse victims, more so now when the number of domestic abuse cases have seen an unprecedented rise during the lockdown. There have been several films over the years, which have talked about domestic abuse and other societal vices. Raveena, however, maintained that the film industry needs more support from the government. “We have contributed a lot to this country, to the great nation of ours. I think every one of us contributed in some way at best for society at large. I think the kind of support that we would want is from the government otherwise you can keep making films and they can come and go, and it won't really make a difference,” she said in solidarity with the industry.

Act against Abuse

Image: Raveena Tandon, Reproduced with permission

While bringing up the importance of saying enough is enough, the actor also highlighted the plague that is crime against women, which is rotting the society’s core value system. She pointed out how abusers or people who commit ghastly crimes against women have no fear of the law. “Our laws have to become even stricter and stringent and implemented. I mean laws might be there but unfortunately, a lot of these people get easy bail and they are out again,” she said while adding that we had to have a tragic and unfortunate incident like Nirbhaya “to wake up through this and ask for action.”

Act against Abuse

Image: Raveena Tandon, Reproduced with permission

A strong advocate of equal rights, Raveena believes that actual change will happen when we offer equal opportunities, equal economic status, equal salaries, and consider women as equals in everything. While she shared her joy over the appointment of women at important jobs and roles, Raveena calls for more and equal opportunities for Indian women from rural India as well. That’s how we can battle the patriarchal past and undo all the damages done to the social fabric over the years. “I do believe that Indian women do have some kind of inner shakti. They can almost multitask and do it all. Unfortunately, a lot  of these women do not explore their inner shakti and they stay in their little shell in their cocoon. Taking abuse is like being complicit to the abuser. If you’re sitting and absorbing that, it’s not going to stop, so there has to be a limit. Tolerating abuse is an abuse itself,” she signed off.

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Not acceptable. That's what we need to say to any and all forms of abuse, whether physical, emotional or psychological. We pledge to stand and speak up against domestic violence and urge you to #ActAgainstAbuse. Follow our campaign, #ActAgainstAbuse and learn about domestic abuse and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Find more on domestic abuse, our campaign #ActAgainstAbuse, and ways to seek help here

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