(Trigger warning: Mentions and description of sexual assault, physical abuse)
A Malayalam actor has alleged that actor-producer Vijay Babu sexually assaulted her and has filed a complaint against him in Ernakulam. She has accused Vijay of rape and physical assault multiple times and has also alleged that he would force her to ‘drink alcohol or take happy pills’.
Vijay Babu had hosted a Facebook Live to deny the allegations and he also revealed the woman’s name, in violation of the law.
'Women Against Sexual Harassment' Share Survivor's Statement on FB
The Facebook page of Women Against Sexual Harassment shared the survivor’s statement on the site. The statement accused Vijay of behaving like a ‘saviour and friend’ to sexually exploit her. “He was like a monster to me,” her statement reads.
According to the survivor’s statement, Vijay Babu physically and sexually assaulted her between March and April.
“I have known him for a few years in the industry and have worked together for a movie. Through this time, he gained my trust by being friendly and advising me as I was a newcomer in the film industry with no proper guidance. He behaved like my saviour for my personal and professional problems, but under the guise, he sexually exploited me.”Survivor's Statement
She further alleged, “He has forced himself on me and even forced me into oral sex in a car against my will. I was in a state of shock, incapable of talking or responding . Each time I tried to run away from this trauma, he would come after me with false promises of marriage. There are also several witnesses to the trauma he has put me through.”
“Whenever I was conscious, I denied consent for engaging in sex. But for him it was never an issue and disregarding my protest he has raped me several times during the past one and a half months,” the survivor has alleged. She added that she was afraid of speaking up because of the ‘clout, influence, and power he wielded in the film industry’.
She has alleged that Vijay Babu also threatened to release a private video of her, “I fear for his blackmail and for my safety.” She urged other women, who have allegedly had similar experiences with Vijay Babu, to speak up.
“I am not keeping my mouth shut anymore. I can’t take this pain anymore. I strongly believe I will get justice for the sexual and physical assaults I have gone through by Vijay Babu. No one should go through this pain and trauma anymore in their life,” the survivor’s statement read. She concluded by saying that she will pursue legal action against people who victim shame her or try to ‘tarnish her image and identity’.
‘Public Shaming of Complainant Is Punishable by Law’: WCC
The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) shared the statement on Facebook and wrote, “Yet another shocking allegation of sexual harassment and violence in the Malayalam film industry is now public. While committees come and go, more such incidents continue to happen. WCC reiterates that crimes are being perpetrated here under the guise of professional equations and professional space.”
“Anyone has the right to file an official police complaint for a crime committed against oneself. The right to arbitrate about who is a victim rests with the judiciary and not anyone else. An Accused's public shaming of a Complainant is deplorable and punishable by law. Flaunting his presence online with such an act without turning himself into the judicial process seems to be an attempt to mock the judicial system.”Women in Cinema Collective in a statement
“WCC urges the authorities to take stringent action and hopes the Malayalam Film Industry will condemn these acts and clean up the workspace for women by distancing perpetrators,” the statement concluded.
Vijay Babu has been charged with IPC sections 376 (sexual assault), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt). After Vijay named the survivor in his Facebook Live, he said he’s ready to face the consequences for the same.
He has denied the allegations and has said that he will file a defamation suit and counter case against the woman. Another producer had earlier filed a complaint against Vijay Babu alleging assault but the complaint was later withdrawn.