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Everything Wrong With Malayalam Actor Vijay Babu’s Facebook Live Post Rape Accusations

After being accused of rape and other forms of sexual assault, Malayalam actor Vijay Babu on Tuesday night went live on his Facebook page claiming his innocence and terming himself as the “real victim”. In a clear violation of the law, Babu also went on to name the complainant in his live video and is… Continue reading Everything Wrong With Malayalam Actor Vijay Babu’s Facebook Live Post Rape Accusations

Screenshot from Vijay Babu’s Facebook Live where he revealed the identity of the woman who filed a complaint of sexual assault charges against him.

After being accused of rape and other forms of sexual assault, Malayalam actor Vijay Babu on Tuesday night went live on his Facebook page claiming his innocence and terming himself as the “real victim”. In a clear violation of the law, Babu also went on to name the complainant in his live video and is currently on the run. Following his live address, the question arises, is revealing a survivor’s name, regardless of the supposed futility of claims, even remotely acceptable?

Babu, a Malayam producer and actor, is the founder of film production company Friday Film House and has also acted in several films that have gone on to do well at the box office. 

A Facebook page named ‘Women Against Sexual Harassment’, carried the statement of the survivor, an actress, who accused Babu of raping her multiple times over the past month after forcing her into a state of intoxication. According to the statement, Babu is alleged to have “physically assaulted” and “sexually exploited” the actress between March 13 and April 14 of this year. 

According to the police, the complaint was filed by the actress on April 22, alleging that Babu had sexually abused her multiple times with the promise of giving her roles in his films.

On April 26, hours after the case was registered, Babu took to Facebook, in what seemed like an attempt to refute the allegations, but went on to do a lot more damage.

The Facebook Live

Babu, on his Facebook Live, said that he is the real victim in the case and would file a defamation case against the complainant for tarnishing his image. “Let it be the beginning of a new ‘Me Too’. Let us start a new fight,” said Babu.

Apart from revealing the survivor’s identity, he said that he had known the complainant since 2018 and had given her a chance to act in one of his films after auditions. “I have around 400 screenshots of all the messages she has sent and I’m ready to make them public,” he added. However, there was no mention of any of the incidents of sexual assault that the woman has accused him of. 

He added, “I am ready to face any legal consequences for revealing the name of the actor who has levelled allegations against me”.

He even referred to those who have come out in support for the woman as “leeches”.

Survivors Cannot Be Named Publicly 

Apart from the blatant disregard for the law which prohibits the disclosure of a complainant’s name, he showed zero remorse while possibly traumatising her further. Naming and shaming are wrong on every level, as it only causes further harm to the complainant. In India, where rape is still widely stigmatised, this only adds woes to the complainant’s kitty. 

Vijay Babu’s Facebook live was not only aimed at shaming her but also attempted to make sure other women don’t find the courage and strength to report harassment of powerful men. 

A Display Of Power

If Babu was merely trying to clear the air around the allegations, he would have actually addressed the accusations themselves. Instead, without making any comment about the specific cases of assault that the complainant has spoken about, he decided to call people who supported her “leeches” and mentioned a mental health concern as a bid to falsify her claim. 

The Live, thus, was a clear display of power and of trying to find support from other misogynistic men. It was an attempt to form clout, and intimidate the survivor further. 

Saying messages between them reveal that she was suffering from depression is a typical trope of using a woman’s mental health battles to shame her and make her claims seem unbelievable. Otherwise, what remote role does a mental health concern play in a rape accusation?

Calling people who are backing her “leeches” is another bizarre accusation for people who just choose to believe the survivor, instead of him. 

Disregard for The Law 

If he was so sure of his innocence, why not let the law run its course? This, apart from showing no fear of consequences of revealing her name. 

More importantly, Babu is presently absconding and is rumoured to be in Dubai, which is absurd for a man so sure of his own victimhood. 

A significant point to note here is that this isn’t the first brush with assault charges for Babu. He was previously accused in 2017 too, when producer Sandra Thomas filed a complaint of assault against him. 

Malayalam Film Industry’s Notorious Reputation

This entire episode comes at a time when the Malayalam film industry is riddled with numerous such accusations. In March, the police arrested filmmaker Liju Krishna for sexually abusing a woman. 

Presently, the LDF government in the state has been facing severe criticism from all corners for not releasing the Hema Committee report, which contains findings of the panel constituted in the wake of the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actress in 2017, in which actor Dileep was involved. Noted actor and key face of Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) Parvathy Thiruvoth said that if the report comes out, “several idols would be broken”.

In the wake of all the above, in what can be termed as a victory for WCC, the Kerala High Court ruled that Malayalam film production houses should have an Internal Complaints Committee in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.