Pooja Bhatt

Tanushree Dutta's sexual harassment allegations against Nana Patekar has encouraged many women to speak about their traumatic experiences. And now actor-turned-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt has come forward and narrated her despicable story of how once a male friend grabbed her breast at an airport.

"You're imagining an enemy out there when the enemy will be sitting right next to you," Pooja Bhatt said while speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2018, in Kolkata on Friday. She further added that women should always be able to confront their offenders and need to be smart and aware every time.

Women speaking "uncomfortable truths" in a world of lies are dismissed or looked upon as "insane", Pooja Bhatt said advicing them to fight their own battle if they believe in their own truth.

"Violence and abuse come in various forms. When a woman feels rage about it then, it is also held against her. They take away the basic right of screaming and talking about pain. When you speak uncomfortable truths in a world of lies, then you are looked upon as insane or you are dismissed," Bhatt said.

Mentioning about a support system or the lack of it, she said: "Truth doesn't require PR. It burns like fire and if you believe in your truth, you plough on. If you expect people to hold your hand when you are engulfed in the flame of life, then I think you are being naive because nobody is there to fight your battles."

Bhatt, the recipient of National Film Award for best film on other social issues for 'Tamanna', asked people to stop questioning or arguing about Tanushree Dutta as to 'why has she spoken up after 10 years'.

"There are women who cannot name their own fathers, grandfathers or their own brothers in their whole lifetime. It is not fair to say why now," she said.

Recalling her own experience and the hypocrisy of the industry, she said: "I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic and (there was) a situation where he struck me and I chose to speak the very next day. But the very own people of our industry said why I am washing my dirty linen in public."

According to Bhatt, it was important for her to tell people that despite having Mahesh Bhatt as her father, she was as vulnerable as others.

She feels that things cannot change unless the situation changes at home. The only thing that has changed is that people talk about it more.

"Unless our homes are secured, the world out there cannot be any different. I have seen people leading contrasting lives," Bhatt said.

She said every person has his or her own reasons for speaking up and not speaking up.

"For some people it is therapeutic and for some, it is a way to vent anger. For some, it is to question and threaten the basic foundation. The question is: are you willing to speak your truth if it shakes the foundation of your very home, or are you willing or allowed to speak if it shakes everything at the workplace?" Bhatt added.

(With IANS Inputs)