On Victims and Victimhood

There is a disturbing trend amongst women these days to play the victim card. I am guilty as charged for playing that card too, unknowingly sometimes and other times deliberately. This is a pointed observation to Kangana Ranaut’s recent interview (and I like her acting skills superbly). I still feel that it was an unnecessary display of failed relationships on National TV and does not further the cause of women and their various issues.

This issue is raked up every time before the release of one of her movies – especially those where she is portraying a ‘strong’ female protagonist. We all have been dumped sometime or the other in our lives, or we may have dumped someone in our lives too. But, does that mean that the relationship turning sour should only be what defines us? I am seriously tired of this validation searching that goes on. I do that too and I will not believe that most women don’t indulge into it. If its not your significant other, it is maybe a father or a mentor or someone who happens to be male and successful in the profession of your choosing. It’s subconscious and at some level, automatic.

This brings me to my second victim — Gauri Lankesh. Her death has left me scarred (for want of a better word). It has instilled in me fear to refrain from speaking my mind out since the cost of being honest is very high. I am nowhere near the achievements or the courage that Ms. Lankesh had. I can probably only aspire to have it.

Yes, the torture can be mental or physical or both. And I am not glorifying one over the other. Having suffered both of them, I personally feel they are both damaging. But, death is not torture. Whilst women are defending Kangana Ranaut for having boldly taken the path of opening about relationships, how many of us can truly say that we have been defending the right of free speech and to practice our vocation, which was exercised by Gauri Lankesh? How many women on both social media and media in general, are coming out and championing the cause that Gauri Lankesh fought for with her blood?

The culture of ‘my truth is truer than your truth’ is failing us. Like the saying goes, there is my truth, there is your truth and then there is ‘the’ truth. I would be satisfied if the truth prevails and if an environment is created where everyone is given the freedom to speak their truth without this unwanted bloodshed. We all have a right to our opinion, and that is what the Constitution makers strived for.

I would like to speak the truth without the fear in me of being trolled, threatened to be raped or worst still, killed.




Pallavi Pratap is an Advocate practicing in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

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