Film on sexual abuse questions gender norms at workplace

It is coming at a time when the country is seeing an intense wave of awareness and reaction about sexual harassment. However, But What was She Wearing, a documentary film by city-based filmmaker Vaishnavi Sundar, which analyses the policies in place to tackle sexual harassment at workplace and the reality of the issue, has been in the making for nearly two years.
Film on sexual abuse questions gender norms at workplace
Vaishnavi Sundar


“Right after the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013, was passed, I wanted to explore the issue of harassment across segments. As the MeToo movement gathered steam, I have been desperate to bring it out. But it is a mere co-incidence. I believe this film would have been relevant 10 years ago or 10 years from now,” the 32-year-old filmmaker told DT Next.
The 110-minute film, shot in Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, will be screened in the city on Saturday at the Goeth Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan.
But What Was She Wearing follows more than 30 women across caste, creed and religion and sectors, including those employed in the unorganised sector.
“Apart from gender, these are women who have been subjugated on various other grounds,” she said. “I also bring into perspective the bias towards people from the North East, following the story of a woman from Arunachal Pradesh,” she said.
“I went through the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on crime against women to check why some of them have not been reported. Some have reported because they have the agency to do so, but I was interested in the missing statistics.”The filmmaker, whose earlier works include short films like Pava (doll in Malayalam) and Catalyst, will taking the documentary to festivals and other film-related events to ensure it reaches a wider audience. The event scheduled on Saturday at 6 pm will also have a discussion on the topic.

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