Women Will Speak More When We Listen More: Nandita Das On Abuse

In her short film ‘Listen to Her’, Nandita Das delves into lives of women who face domestic abuse & burnout.

2 min read

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Video Editor: Ashish Maccune

Has the coronavirus lockdown been particularly hard on women? Yes. And there are studies to back it.

Many women had to juggle work from home, childcare, take up more chores for lack of the spouse’s participation, handle a demanding job, and in some cases even be subjected to domestic violence.

In the short film ‘Listen to Her’, released earlier in May, actor and director Nandita Das essays the role of a woman who deals with someone trying to call a domestic violence helpline. The seven-minute film portrays Das as a mother, wife, employee, who is juggling it all – on the verge of burnout.

Speaking to The Quint, Das said that the spike in domestic violence cases during the lockdown pushed her to speak about the issue. She asserts that domestic violence is not a private matter but a matter of human rights.

“It is definitely the time to speak up. I mean, the whole purpose of this film, ‘Listen to Her’, is to encourage women to speak up. I think women will speak more and more when we listen. And that’s why I put the focus on ‘us’, you know ,on the listener. The more we listen, the more strength and courage and confidence women will have to speak up.”
Nandita Das

Addressing Burnout Of Women During Lockdown

Das also touched upon how the lockdown has lead to the restarting of conversation about how men should share more responsibilities – be it running the household or raising children.

“Like you just asked, should men be stepping up? Of course, men should be stepping up. Why should we even be talking about this? Women these days are so fatigued because of being overburdened. This is really the right time to restart for the 100th time, the conversation that if men would share these responsibilities, whether of taking care of the house, whether of raising their children, you know... it is so skewed.”
Nandita Das

She also said that women have internalised patriarchy and in some cases, hesitate to ask their partners to share the responsibility.

“Women have also internalised this patriarchy. Sometimes when women do a little bit also, they feel so grateful, they feel guilty. Sometimes, women are fighting with themselves to think that it should be more equal. But they don’t know how to quite articulate it without getting into a fight or making it bitter.”
Nandita Das

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