Actress Kalki Koechlin, who is known to essay roles in unconventional movies, has always been known for being open about what she thinks of certain issues and is not afraid to take a stand. Recently the Margarita with a Straw actress confessed about her personal experience of sexual abuse. It is commendable that Kalki has publicly spoken about her gruesome past. Instances like these usually lurk behind closed doors. Kalki spoke to Humans of Bombay that covers the beat of the city one story at a time, about her experience. A press conference conducted by Rahul Bose’s The Foundation served as a platform for Kalki to open up about the fact that she confronted sexual abuse at a very young age.  (Kalki Koechlin awes everyone as a disabled girl, Laila)

She confided in those present about the incident because of the realisation that many people have been through such an experience just like her. So as to give them the confidence to speak up, Kalki initiated the process. Here’s the complete text of Kalki Koechlin’s message, as posted on Facebook by Humans of Bombay:

“The reason i spoke out about my sexual abuse is not to get people to feel sorry for me but to give others who have had similar circumstances the confidence to talk about it. I allowed someone to have sex with me at the age of nine, not understanding fully what it meant and my biggest fear after was that my mother would find out. I felt it was my mistake and so I kept it hidden for years. If I had had the confidence or awareness to confide in my parents it would have saved me years of complexes about my own sexuality. It’s important that parents remove the taboo around the word sex or private parts so kids can speak openly and be saved from potential abuse.

I believe in being myself every step of the way and not hiding my true self from society, whether that means getting a divorce because me and my husband didn’t want to pretend for other people, or wearing shorts because it’s a hot day or choosing a career which is unstable but creatively satisfying, or admitting to my weaknesses because learning from them has led to my strengths.

I’ve also been asked a lot about love lately. Well, i just feel love is not up for public display. Love is not the pictures you put up on social media. Love is not a certificate of marriage. Love is not property, children, family or ownership and love is not a barter – ‘I’ll give you this, if you give me that.’

Love is giving without expecting in return. It sounds like the ultimate act of self sacrifice right? But the trouble with giving, and I mean happily and limitlessly giving without expecting in return, is that one has to be self sufficient, and full of love for oneself. So, in a way, I believe love is selfish, because only a person who loves themselves fully, can give fully without expecting, without needing, without dependency. I’m not there yet, but I fight to be myself everyday in a world where we are constantly pressurized to be someone else, and that daily fight is my pursuit for love.”

In the past, Kalki has stood up to make a point about topics such as women’s empowerment, rape and other issues. Lately there have been many incidents were the Bollywood brigade are serving as an inspiration by bravely coming out and addressing issues such as depression, women’s empowerment, feminism and rape. Although the netizens are not always kind to these celebrities, one such incident was when Deepika Padukone was thrashed for her video My Choice by Vogue. (Deepika Padukone’s My Choice: Men hit back – male version of video says men don’t support cheating!)While Deepika was criticised for the video even by her peers like Sonakshi Sinha, Sonam Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut, Kalki supported the Piku actress. (Deepika Padukone’s My Choice video for #VogueEmpower gets the Alia Bhatt jokes treatment!)

Kalki’s movie Margarita with a Straw is a coming-of-age story of a young woman who has cerebral palsy. The movie also explores the concept of sexuality of disabled people for the very first time. So, for a celebrated person like her to come out and talk about her sexual abuse is indeed very brave. Kudos to you, Kalki!(Edited by Shweta Parande)