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I had conflicted emotions when I got the news about Sajid: Farhan Akhtar

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It is not an easy feat to get the news that your brother has been sexually harassing women in the Bollywood Industry. Farhan said when he first heard about the accusations against his cousin, he had conflicted emotions. “It was surprise, disappointment and strangely, because when it’s a member of your family, you also feel a certain level of guilt. It’s happened to all of us in the past when we hear something like this and say ‘but how come someone so close to him didn’t know.’ “The truth is I didn’t. If I did know I would’ve spoken about it way before the story broke. There was this certain guilt about that, how could this be going on and I had no idea. So there were conflicted emotions,” he said.

He wishes that he had known about the way Sajid used to behave with everyone. Three women spoke to him privately regarding the same matter as well. “There were two-three women who got in touch with me privately to say ‘listen you should know whatever is being said is true and he has behaved in a similar way with us as well.’ These are the people I’ve known for 12, 15, 20 years and meet them very often but nobody ever mentioned this to me. I asked them why didn’t you ever tell me? “I have been doing something with MARD for the last five years, I wouldn’t have been on his side if you had brought it to my attention but somehow they weren’t comfortable to speak about it,” he said.

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Unlike most of the people who blame victims for not telling their story when it happened, Farhan believes that it is a woman’s decision regarding when she wants to come out. “If someone has behaved badly with a woman and she hasn’t spoken about it for ten, 20 or 30 years, it’s her prerogative when she wants to speak. Even if someone tells me privately, like these three women, I cannot take their names. “Can I go to the public with that? I can’t because she will be answerable then for the rest of her life and may be she first want to be. It’s a woman’s agency,” he added.

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