Canít blame films for cases of rape

Bela Bhansali Sehgal
While films depict women with a lot of power, in reality, they are seen as commodities, opines film-maker Bela Bhansali Sehgal

The recent case of gangrape in Delhi has once again thrown light on the debate of whether portrayal of women by media and especially Bollywood films is responsible for such kind of behaviour. I firmly believe that media and films cannot be held responsible for such a dastardly act. Of course, in certain films, we do show attractive women who excite men, but in no way do films influence such heinous acts.

I strongly believe that our films are a reflection of the times that we are living in and acts of rape and molestation are shown only if the story requires it. Moreover, they are projected in such a way that they bring about an awareness in society. Today's film-makers believe in self-censorship and have a sense of moral responsibility in trying to bring about a positive change in our society.

This year, I made my directorial debut with Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi that actually showed a very strong female character. We have so many women-oriented films, where women are shown with a lot of power but in our society, they feel so lost. We are living in a very repressive society where women are basically looked upon as commodities to be possessed. In several sections of society, men have no respect for our gender. Such men forget that it is their mother, a woman, who has given birth to them, so how can they even think of treating another woman like this?

We are often told that we bring this on ourselves because of the kind of clothes we wear, which is the most ridiculous statement. We are living in a democracy where we should be allowed to live exactly the way we want. Why should women feel scared to walk on the streets? Even after the Delhi case created an uproar in various parts of the country, just two days ago, I read about another rape case. Every second column in the newspaper carries reports about rape, molestation where even young children are not spared. This is extremely shameful.

It's high time we say, enough is enough. I am glad that there are vociferous protests by the public who have come out on the roadsó- and they have every right to do so. The government needs to wake up and formulate stringent laws to inculcate fear within the perpetrators. Men feel that they can do anything and get away with it. What we need are extremely punitive measures that will deter any male from even thinking about treating a woman in this manner.

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