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Model-turned-activist Somi Ali gives her two pence on why #MeToo movement didn't work in India

Women in countries like India and Pakistan are ‘subject to guilt and shame’ if they open up about sexual harassment, says the Pakistan-born American actress who appeared in a handful of Indian films in the 1990s.

EPN Desk15 May 2024 09:50

Model-turned-activist Somi Ali gives her two pence on why #MeToo movement didn't work in India

The culture and society in certain South Asian countries like India and Pakistan is such that it becomes significantly more challenging for victims of sexual harassment to speak out, according to model-turned-women’s rights activist Somy Ali, who has worked in Bollywood films.

The Pakistan-born American, who runs a US-based NGO called No More Tears, said this in an interview with a leading national daily while referring to the #MeToo movement which, she believes, did not get the due attention it deserved in India as compared to other parts of the world.

  “Women are subject to guilt and shame when they have to open up about (sexual) harassment,” Ali said, adding that fear and corruption are other aspects keeping people in India and Pakistan from raising their voice against the culprits.

“Nothing is going to happen until this fear factor stays in Bollywood,” she said while mentioning the names of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta and model Diandra Soares, who spoke out futilely about being sexually harassed and abused during the #MeToo wave that took the glamor world by storm in 2017.

The hashtag #MeToo is a social movement and awareness campaign wherein people publicly talk about their experience of sexual abuse or harassment mostly on social media platforms.

The justice system is delayed in countries like India and Pakistan due to the deeply ingrained social stigma, said 48-year-old Ali, who became a household name in India because she was once dating Bollywood superstar Salman Khan. 

Ali highlighted the issue of lengthy battles for justice sex abuse survivors not just in India and Pakistan, but in the US too have to face, saying that it took nearly 20 years for people to publicly accuse high-profile figures like American financier Jeffrey Epstein and American media personality Bill Cosby.

However, she insisted that justice can be delayed, but rarely ever denied. To support her point, she used actor Shah Rukh Khan’s dialogue, saying: “…if things go wrong or they don’t happen as per our plans, then picture abhi baaki hai (the show is not over yet).” 







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