Actor Mamtha Mohandas’ recent interview in the Times of India (Kochi Times) has stirred up a hornet’s nest on social media. Scores of livid Twitter and Facebook users strongly condemned her for her insensitive views on the Malayalam actor assault case and about violence against women.
“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but if a woman gets into trouble, I feel somewhere she is responsible for it. Because if I have gotten into any sort of trouble where I have felt that someone has spoken to me with disrespect or in this situation, a sexual assault or a sexual abuse or anything indicative towards that manner, I feel I would have entertained some part of it. This is what I feel and that doesn’t mean that I am pointing fingers because I don’t think it should happen to anybody,” Mamtha said in the interview.
The actor went on to make a rather absurd observation that “pretty women get attacked more”.
“We do become victims of certain unfair things. I think average looking women have it easier these days – in all aspects of life, from relationships to professions. They actually do better,” she stated in the interview.
Following this, prominent WCC member and fellow actor Rima Kallingal was among the first to respond to Mamtha’s comments.
Tagging Mamtha, Rima said in a Facebook post, “Dear Mamtha Mohandas and my sisters and brothers and LGBTQ community out there who have been through harassment and assaults and molestations and rapes in life. You are not responsible when you get troubled, cat-called, assaulted, molested, abused, harassed, violated, attacked, kidnapped or raped. The molestor, assaulter, aggressor, violater, kidnapper or the rapist is responsible. A society that normalises these wrongs is responsible. A world that protects the wrong doer is responsible.”
The conversation did not end there. Mamtha replied to Rima’s post thanking her for the opinion and went on to say more.
“I understand what a woman faces in Society in every way. Not that I’m a victim of rape. But I am A woman who lives in the same society which has natural imbalances which finds it easy to make women feel like the weaker sex and silence us and trust me, I Have felt disrespected abused and assaulted by a few men whom I have trusted and counted on. So it’s the same effect on the woman whether the mans a stranger or someone known to us. Dear women, please don’t turn against women who scream from their insides. Think before you react. In short what I lack isn’t empathy or IQ.. what I lack greatly now is forgiveness to wrong doers. Ask justice to hand them once convicted rapist. No second chances. Women please make noise and react and do not allow history to repeat. Point fingers at the judiciary system before calling out on each other (sic),” read Mamtha’s reply.
Following this, several users replied on the thread pointing out how Mamtha’s argument that women are in some way responsible for assaults on them is flawed.
One user asked the actor how she would justify violence against newborns and infants if she went by the argument that women were responsible for the attacks.
To this, Mamtha responded by smoothly skirting the question.
“I think the accused if found guilty should be punished whether it is an actor or not. What happened to our voices when regular people were raped? Why has this become such a big issue when it involved celebs only? I think this is a people’s problem. Not just the industry’s. We should aim at balancing the gender issues in our society.. Bottom up!” was Mamtha’s response.