Ayesha Omar opens up about being a sexual assault survivor to Rose McGowan
In light of the #MeToo movement that grew in strength after women started coming out with their stories, actor, and director Rose McGowan opened up about her struggle in 2017, 20 years after she was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, the now-disgraced American producer.
In a live Instagram conversation with Ayesha Omar, McGowan revealed how she gathered the strength to finally speak about what had happened to her.
“I always had a voice, just no one was listening,” she Rose. “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.”
As a survivor standing against the world, she also opened up about going through the ordeal alone.
“I didn’t have friends. No women’s groups to help me, nothing.”
However, she was confident that the harasser was the only one to blame.
“It was never my shame,” Rose said, as she often waited for someone she could meet one day, who would make a difference in the way things were happening. “And then I thought, nope, it’s gonna be me.”
Omar also added how being in Pakistani society, fear and shame are two dominant emotions for women in such circumstances. “We are not allowed to be angry,” said the Bulbulay actress.
The duo then together discussed how the blame of assault is usually shifted on women. Sometimes through clothing, and other times because they are just “asking for it”.
“#MeToo triggered people all over the world; it’s a communication tool, it’s there to say, I know your pain,” said Gowan. Soon after, Ayesha too, shared the story of her own assault.
“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,” she shared.
“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.”
“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?'” Ayesha told Rose.
“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,” Omar said.
Rose also mentioned how her own activism too started way before the Weinstein incident.
“I’m really about men and women to see each other as human, and not through gender,” she concluded.