Vidya Balan and Rahul Bose
Sonil Dedhia (MID-DAY; July 25, 2017)

Child sexual abuse is a grim reality in our country — one that is often swept under the rug. But actor Vidya Balan believes that it is time to speak up against the social malaise and fight it head-on. The actor has collaborated with Rahul Bose’s NGO HEAL [Help Eradicate Abuse through Learning] to fight child sexual abuse.

Balan played a survivor of child sexual abuse in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh (2016). During a promotional event, the actor had said, “The abuse is often so traumatic that it paralyses people. No one wants to talk about it… It leaves you hopeless.” The actor is aware of how the victims are often scarred by the episode, but is hopeful that this initiative will help in creating a dialogue between parents and teachers, and the child to address the subject of sexual abuse. It also aims to help deal with any situation of abuse faced by children.

Talking about her association, Balan says, “After Kahaani 2 released, many people reached out to me to share their personal experiences of the trauma. What was shocking though was that many people I thought I knew well, were also victims of it. We tend to believe that child sexual abuse doesn’t happen to people we know. That’s when I realised how wrong my perception was. So, when Rahul told me about his initiative to fight this stigma in our society, I immediately decided to be a part of it.”