I’m a public figure, doesn’t give men right to misbehave: Ileana alleges sexual harassment

Ileana was on her way to a fashion show when six men allegedly sexually harassed her at a traffic signal.
I’m a public figure, doesn’t give men right to misbehave: Ileana alleges sexual harassment
I’m a public figure, doesn’t give men right to misbehave: Ileana alleges sexual harassment
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Being accosted in public places for selfies and autographs is something that actors and public personalities have faced multiple times. But actor Ileana D’ Cruz’ alleging that she was sexually harassed at a busy traffic signal really goes to show how even powerful women are not safe from sexism and misogyny.

On Sunday, Ileana was on her way to the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. The traffic in the city can be a pain, but for Ileana, the five minutes that her car remained stationary turned out to be a nightmarish experience.

In an interview to Avinash Lohana for Mumbai Mirror, Ileana recounted how six men attempted to sexually harass her.

The incident allegedly happened when Ileana was waiting in her car at a traffic signal and six men in an adjacent car noticed her. The men then proceeded to harass Ileana, with seemingly no care if their actions were making the 29-year-old uncomfortable.

“They started banging against the window, pressing themselves against the car, one of them even lying down on the top of the bonnet and laughing,” Ileana said.

The men did not stop there – they allegedly followed Ileana’s car even after the traffic signal turned green. “It was like a power trip for them,” Ileana stated.

Ileana said that while she could have taken their pictures and shamed them, she didn’t do so, as she believed it would make the “six lunatics” misbehave further.

Ileana showcased a creation by designer De Belle on the fifth day of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai on Sunday. PTI photo

She also did not want to put her chauffer in a dangerous situation where he would be up against the six men. Worried that he could be beaten up and she would still be unable to stop them, Ileana decided to stay put in the car while her chauffer honked at the men.

Later, Ileana took to Twitter to point out that just because she is a public figure who does not have the luxury of a private life, it didn’t give any man the right to misbehave with her.

When asked by Mirror if she would report the incident, Ileana seemed unsure. Arguing that she didn’t even know the identity of the harassers, she said she would perhaps handle the situation differently if something like this were to happen again. She had played it safe this time, she said.

Ileana claimed that she hadn’t hesitated in filing a complaint against another person who sexually harassed her when she was 16. However, this time she was alone and without an entourage, which she believes encouraged the alleged harassers.

“If this becomes frequent, I might consider [hiring bodyguards]," Ileana concluded.

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