For the first time since her abduction and assault in 2017, South Indian actress Bhavana Menon took to her social media to open up about her trauma.
“This has not been an easy journey. The journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor. 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,” she wrote on her Instagram page.
In 2017, the actress was allegedly assaulted in a moving vehicle by a gang of men. Actor Dileep is one of the accused in the case and has been named as the alleged mastermind behind the attack, which was orchestrated to settle personal scores.
The incident played a catalyst in the formation of the Women In Cinema Collective, an organisation to protect female actors in the Malayalam film industry, through which Menon had issued statements in the past.
“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. Now when I hear so many voices speak up for me I know that I am not alone in this fight for justice,” she wrote. The case is still under trial in India, with several key witnesses going hostile.
In the last few weeks, the case was brought back into focus when Balachandra Kumar, a director and alleged friend of Dileep, claimed that the actor knew the prime accused, Pulsar Suni, in the case. The actress also wrote to the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan demanding speedy justice after allegations against Dileep re-surfaced. The filmmaker claimed that he had spotted Suni at Dileep’s residence and had incriminating audio clips.
“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,” the actress wrote further.
Several celebrities such as Parvathy and Remya Nambeesan, who supported the rape survivor by spearheading the collective, have also spoken about how they lost out on work due to the stand they took.
Dileep was arrested in 2017 and spent two months in jail before he secured bail. The actor claims to be innocent and the trial is still ongoing in Kerala. Dileep has been named as a conspirator in the case and ischarged with ‘revenge crime’, according to IANS.
On January 9, Kerala Police registered a non-bailable case against Malayalam superstar Dileep, his brother Anoop, his brother-in-law Sooraj and other family members. According to IANS, the case was registered following filmmaker Balachandra Kumar’s revelations on actor Dileep’s alleged involvement in the assault case.
Meanwhile, Dileep and his wife Kavya Madhavan is also under fire for appearing on the cover of a popular Malayalam women’s magazine ‘Vanitha’ this January. The latest issue, published by Malayala Manorama group, has sparked outrage with several social media users calling out their choice of subject on cover.