In a recent press conference at her residence, film star Pori Moni shared an unpleasant incident, where she claimed that she was subject to harassment and an attempt to rape and murder. The actress spoke to The Daily Star at her Banani residence on Monday night about the night’s torture, intimidation, lawsuits, artistes, and the struggles of ordinary women outside the media.
Did you expect the accused to be arrested so quickly?
I was scared and anxious, until I saw the news of the accused being arrested on television yesterday. Today, I actually regained the strength to stand up and walk. I am grateful for all the help I received in this regard. The support of my well-wishers has brought back my smile.
Everything happened very quickly. Did you think the legal procedures would happen so fast?
I never expected this to happen on such short notice. This was the first time I came across such a dreadful experience, and I had no guidance. Every door I knocked on for help only suggested that I drop the matter. This made me even more adamant on getting justice.
If I am to fall from grace, the ones who are guilty should fall for their deeds. I shared my sorrows on Facebook, which finally helped catch the attention of the authorities.
Bangladesh Film Actors Association has expressed their support and sympathy towards you in this regard. What are your comments?
I had informed them of the incident prior to this, and they had promised to be by my side — but that was all. Neither did they take any action, nor did anyone check up on me after that. I was running out of options and thus decided to post on Facebook. Their behavior has disappointed me as I considered them my family — but they did not come forward to hold my hand in distress.
Who do you think is responsible for the current actions being taken in your favour in this regard?
The media and most importantly, the journalists! In addition, this action has only reinforced the strength and power possessed by our authorities.
According to rumours, your previous interactions with the media have not been very pleasant. What do you wish to say in this regard?
I believe the ones who had received rudeness from me were never real journalists. You have to consider my situation too, no one wants to be rude to others without any reason at all.
You only have your maternal grandfather as family. Have you informed him about the issue yet?
My grandfather is 113 years old, and he lives with me. He has been my best confidante since childhood. That day when the journalists visited my house, he called me and asked what the issue was. I explained everything to him in detail, and the only advice he gave me was, ‘Be strong’. His words have worked as a driving force for me since then.
Are you anxious about the future proceedings of this case?
The remnants of this event will stay with me forever. It is not easy to overcome such experiences and healing takes a lot of time and strength. I hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
The case in now under court. Do you have enough evidence to support your case?
I have submitted all the proofs that I had, but the CCTV footage of that day will be a game-changer in the case. They were verbally abusing me while walking out of the room that day and this incident has been recorded on the CCTV camera. Some of the waiters there had also helped me a lot that day. They were asked to turn off the lights repeatedly, but they did not listen to the perpetrators and a few of them even stood by the switches to ensure that the lights were on. Without them, I don’t think I would have survived the night.
You come from humble beginnings. From where do you get the strength to fight such a situation?
I would have been forced to commit suicide if I had not been ‘actor Pori Moni’. Everyone I reached out to only asked me to consider my ‘social respect’ and ‘status as a girl’. I would like to say this to all the girls who face such incidents — never trust a stranger. Women should never stop voicing out. Death is never a solution. It never begets any justice, neither does it reveal secrets.