For Millennials. By Millennials.
There are few celebrities in Hollywood who are fully devoted to activism from heart and soul. But, if there’s one celebrity you can count on for doing that, it’s Rose McGowan. The actor-turned-activist is one of the forebearers of the #MeToo movement and works tirelessly to give voice to the victims, both male and female. Similarly, she decided to hear out Pakistani actress Ayesha Omer’s sexual assault story too.
McGowan joins Ayesha Omer on Instagram Live
One can understand how excited Pakistani actress Ayesha Omer was for having Rose McGowan for a chat by her words in her Instagram caption:
“When Rose agreed to go live with me, I felt I was dreaming. It was unreal. I thought non-stop about everything that I wanted to ask her, everything that I wanted to tell her about Pakistan.”
And the live Instagram session was quite productive. “I always had a voice, just no one was listening,” said Rose McGowan, as she explained to Omer how America just wasn’t ready at the time. She said:
“I was waiting for society to be ready. I needed Trump. Hilary Clinton protected Weinstein in a major way. I needed Trump to show people this is racism, sexism, and this is what ugliness really looks like.”
Moreover, McGowan further mentioned how she was always confident that it wasn’t her fault. Despite that, she didn’t have anyone she could rely on to help her expose Harvey Weinstein. That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hand:
“I didn’t have friends. No women’s groups to help me, nothing… And then I thought, nope, it’s gonna be me.”
Upon hearing about McGowan’s remarkable strength, Ayesha Omer decided to come forward with her story of sexual assault as well.
Ayesha Omer opens up to Rose McGowan about her sexual assault
To hear others tell their story is always inspiring for victims, who are yet to come out with their stories. And that was the push Ayesha Omer needed when she heard Rose McGowan. Speaking to her, she opened up about her own sexual assault story:
A huge powerful man, twice my age. I had just entered the industry, I was this young 23-year-old, fresh out of college, and bam, this started happening. And it went on for years.”
Omer further told McGowan how she basically put her experience in a box and didn’t till anyone for 15 long years, until recently:
“It wasn’t a one-off incident, and I just didn’t want to process it. I put in a box, and I said okay, this is happening in my life, I have to deal with it. I didn’t wanna share it with anybody, I let it stay there for 15 years, and I finally spoke about it to someone two years ago.”
However, in a conservative country like Pakistan, coming out with your sexual assault stories is extremely difficult for victims. Ayesha Omer told Rose McGowan how the media vilifies anyone who comes out with their #MeToo moment:
“A friend of mine from the industry also came out with her story, and TV channels started calling me up and asking ‘Do you think she’s telling the truth?’ And I said ‘I would believe any victim’. They asked me if sexual harassment happens in the industry and that’s the first time I said yes. They asked if it happened to you, and I said yes. I will talk about it someday, but not today. I still haven’t named my monster but I’ve started talking about it.”
The media does not help
Sadly, that is the state of affairs in Pakistan. And Ayesha Omer is a well-known actress, with many films under her belt, while she is a regular star in Pakistan’s famous TV sitcom “Bulbulay“. Despite that, she faces tremendous difficulty in her home country for coming out with her sexual assault story. On the other hand, Rose McGowan also knows all too well how the media manipulates these stories in favor of the criminals. She once called out a New York Times reporter for misleading her when he wanted her opinion on Ronan Farrow. Similarly, she called out Buzzfeed for the shameful way with which they reported Tara Reade’s story. The #MeToo movement has made things a lot better for victims, but there is still more that can be done.