Crime Against Women

British actor Cara Delevingne accuses US film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape

The Cannes Film Festival expressed displeasure over executive’s actions while BAFTA suspended his membership to the organisation.

Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who is facing multiple allegations of gross sexual misconduct that go back to the 1990s, has now been accused of sexual harassment by English actor and model Cara Delevingne. In a post on Instagram on Wednesday night, Delevingne said that Weinstein tried to get her to kiss another woman, and attempted to kiss her himself when she tried to leave. He also allegedly asked her about her sexuality and told her that she would not “make it as an actress in Hollywood” if she was openly homosexual.

“He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips,” Delevingne wrote in the post. “I stopped him and managed to get out of the room. I still got the part for the film and always thought that he gave it to me because of what happened. Since then I felt awful that I did the movie.”

Following a report in the New Yorker that accused Weinstein of raping several women, the producer’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts membership has been suspended. “Whilst BAFTA has previously been a beneficiary of Mr. Weinstein’s support for its charitable work, it considers the reported alleged behaviour completely unacceptable and incompatible with BAFTA’s values,” the official announcement read. “This has led to Mr. Weinstein’s suspension, and it will be followed by a formal process as laid out in BAFTA’s constitution.” However, the producer continues to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Cannes Film Festival rebuked the producer in a statement signed by presidents Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, which said that they were “dismayed to learn of the accusations of harassment and sexual violence recently leveled against Harvey Weinstein.” Several British politicians also signed an open letter on Wednesday demanding that a royal honour accorded to Weinstein, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, be revoked.

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman announced that she was separating from the producer. Chapman is the co-founder of the Marchesa luxury brand and has two children with Weinstein. “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions,” Chapman’s statement said. “I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”

Actor Ben Affleck, who has collaborated with Weinstein on several projects, said that he was “saddened and angry” at the producer’s misconduct. However, he was immediately criticised by a Twitter user, who reminded Affleck that he had “grabbed actor Hillary Burton’s breasts” when he appeared on her MTV show Total Request Live in 2013. Affleck has apologised for groping the Burton, tweeting that he “acted inappropriately.”

Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actors Ashley Judd, Gywenth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Léa Seydoux, and Romola Garai. Several Hollywood personalities, including Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Ruffalo have condemned the producer after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Director Paul Feig is among the latest to rebuke Weinstein, asking men to “speak up” against sexual harassment. “It’s a big sacrifice for women to come forward with this stuff. As we’ve seen over history, they are generally not rewarded for coming forward,” he told The Guardian. Ninety-four-year-old Actor Rose Marie also tweeted her support for women who are speaking about their experiences of sexual harassment.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.