On Tuesday, the newly formed Women's Collective in the Malayalam film industry issued a statement, condemning insensitive comments that were being made on a prominent woman actor who was abducted and allegedly sexually assaulted in February this year.
"Statements that tend to defame the survivor are challenging the judiciary and the constitution. Casting a shadow of doubt on the survivor is something that does not warrant forgiveness," the statement reads.
The statement comes close in the heels of people like actor Salim Kumar posting on Facebook that the victim should undergo a lie detection test because of allegations that actor Dileep was involved in the crime.
Salim Kumar took down his post after facing backlash online, including from celebrities like director Baiju Kottarakkara. He apologised for his comments on Monday evening.
Actor Dileep had also spoken to Reporter TV, suggesting that the victim and the accused, Pulsar Suni, were "going around together" and that she must have thought about the company that she was keeping before such an incident happened.
The statement made by the Collective condemns all such remarks, especially ones coming from people within the film industry and urges everyone to refrain from making such statements in the future.
The Women in Cinema Collective was formed in May by women actors, directors and technicians from the Malayalam film industry to highlight the gender disparity that they face. The Collective was formed in the backdrop of the abduction and alleged sexual assault of the same woman actor that Salim Kumar had referred to in his post.
The official condemnation from the Collective comes after dubbing artist Bhagya Lakshmi, who has been vocal about violence against women in the state, slammed them for inaction. She also refused to accept the apology issued by Salim Kumar as genuine.
In a Facebook post on Monday night, Bhagya Lakshmi wondered how Salim Kumar could have made such an offensive and insensitive statement.
"How could you have said so? Didn't you think about you daughters? Or did you feel the woman actor hadn't suffered enough already? Your statement is nothing but cruel," she wrote.
Noting that Salim Kumar had later apologised and taken down the remark, Bhagya Lakshmi said that the actor had done so not because he realised his mistake, but because he feared the backlash.
"Although late, you deleted that post. But I am sure it was not because you felt sorry about it, but because you feared the backlash from public and the media," Bhagya Lakshmi said.
She also proceeded to question the recently-formed Women in Cinema Collective for failing to react to the offensive remarks made by Salim Kumar.
"People who formed a women's collective seem to have not known about Salim Kumar's remark. Or is it that the collective will only react to certain affairs? Is it a women's collective or women's selective?" Bhagya Lakshmi wrote.