- Growing up, Neena Gupta was molested by an eye-doctor and a tailor
- "I didn't dare tell my mother about this," she wrote
- "I couldn't say anything about it," she added
Actress Neena Gupta's account of being molested as a young girl has struck a chord with the Internet; an excerpt from her autobiography in which she details the experience is going viral - the book, titled Sach Kahun Toh, released in June. In the passage, Ms Gupta, 62, recounts being molested by a doctor and a tailor; she was "scared stiff" but opted not to tell her mother for fear that she would be told it was her "fault." Hers was a common experience, Neena Gupta writes in her book, revealing that young women such as her chose not to reveal the assault because it would mean the loss of the "little freedom" they had.
Neena Gupta's account reads: "One time I visited a doctor for an eye infection. My brother, who was accompanying me, was asked to sit in the waiting room. The doctor started with examining my eye and then went down to check out other areas that were unconnected with my eye. I was scared stiff while it was happening and felt disgusted all the way home. I sat in a corner in the house and cried my eyes out when nobody was looking. But I didn't dare tell my mother about this because I was so scared that she would say that it was my fault. That I had probably said or done something to provoke him. This happened to me many times at the doctor's."
The actress goes on to share how a tailor once got "too handsy" while taking her measurements but she chose silence again fearing the loss of her independence.
Neena Gupta writes: "I couldn't say anything about it. I had to keep going back to them (the doctor and the tailor), Why? Because I felt like I had no choice" and added why she kept these horrible experiences a secret from her mother: "If I told my mom I didn't want to go to them, she would ask me why and I would have to tell her. I didn't want this because I felt very scared and ashamed of what had been done to me. I wasn't the only one. Many girls in those days who suffered abuse chose to keep quiet rather than tell their parents about it... We didn't dare complain to our parents because that would mean that the little freedom we had would be taken away."
Once Neena Gupta started having open discussions on sexual assault with her friends, she realized that many had been through similar experiences and that it was "common."
Neena Gupta has shared various chapters of her life, both personal and professional, in her book. She juggled her career while raising fashion designer Masaba Gupta, her daughter with former cricketer Viv Richards, as a single mother. Despite appearing in acclaimed films such as Trikaal, Mandi and Utsav, Ms Gupta did not reach her full potential as a young actress. This changed after her blockbuster performance in the 2018 film Badhaai Ho, after which she has been flooded with work.
Neena Gupta has been married to chartered accountant Vivek Mehra since 2008.