India is far from being safe for women, says actor Richa Chadha, who would like people to introspect on the increasing cases of sexual assault and other crimes. In her latest film "Section 375", Richa plays a lawyer fighting to get justice for a rape survivor.
"There is no patriotism in hiding that India is unsafe for women. India ranks very high on violence against women... even in the womb. "There are a number of cases of female foeticide, genital mutilation is so high, dowry cases, acid attacks... these are all violent crimes against women. On what basis can one say it is a safe place? People who are saying India is extremely safe for women are men," Richa told PTI.
Implementation of the law and encouraging more women to go to the police with their complaints would help de-stigmatize cases of sexual abuse and violence. "Change is needed both ways (government and society). There has to be social level change. There should be a no-tolerance policy against sexual harassment. Laws are powerful but the implementation of it is another debate.
"There are so many rape cases that go unreported because of social stigma and all this makes the situation difficult for the victim. Rapists are a product of society," Richa said. The 32-year-old actor also referred to politicians who have been accused of rape and continue to be in the mainstream.
"...when such incidents happen, an elected representative says the most awful and problematic things, like, 'why did she go alone?', 'what was she wearing?' This is also victim shaming." "Section 375" takes its name from the Indian Penal Code section that deals with rape. Directed by Ajay Bahl, the movie also features Akshaye Khanna as the lawyer of a rape accused.
Richa said Bahl did thorough research before making a film on such a subject. "There are fake rape cases also being registered, but at the same time, a lot of rape cases go unreported too. India is a very complicated society and we are seeing that more and more today.
"It is a sensitive subject and we have done a lot of hard work on it, especially our director. I feel we have tried to be truthful and sincere. I was worried about it initially. When I read the script and the way Ajay has treated the film, I am not worried now," she added. "Section 375" is slated for release across theatres on September 13.
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