In the year 1992 Bhanwari Devi, an Indian social worker hailing from the Kumhar caste in rural Rajasthan was gang-raped by upper caste men for having the temerity to intervene and stop the child-marriage of an infant. The subsequent acquittal of the accused in connivance with the State machinery outraged India and galvanized women’s activism that led to the Vishaka Guidelines, and subsequently, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in 2013. In this feature-length documentary shot by an all-women crew, Director Vaishnavi Sundar juxtaposes the law on paper with the ground realities, through this first of its kind log of stories and experiences of over two dozen Indian women; tales of sexual violence that they face - from opulent corporate offices to construction sites and manual scavenging - and their fight for justice against an obstinate patriarchal State. ‘But What Was She Wearing’ attempts to portray the impotence of this paper-law and the impossible odds Indian women are up against in pursuit of justice.
"Like a powerful thunderclap that punctuates and draws attention to a brewing storm, meaningfully, without bluster, Vaishnavi’s film makes a powerful point about the everyday heroes who are fighting the good fight." - Cinema Express
"Sundar’s 110-minute-long documentary is intricately-researched. It tears into the subject of workplace harassment from different angles and reveals how widespread and unchecked the problem is, and the flimsiness of the laws that are in place." - Silverscreen.in
"Poignant, painful and eye-opening. But What Was She Wearing?, Vaishnavi Sundar’s detailed documentary on sexual harassment in India, blows the lid wide open on the sheer extent of the sexual harassment suffered by women every day." - Newslaundry
"Vaishnavi Sundar’s documentary But What Was She Wearing could not have been more timely." - Scroll
Dear supporters, thank you for your solidarity and eagerness to watch the film. To rent the film, there is a base amount, but for those who wish to contribute towards future screenings in academic institutions, underprivileged sectors, are requested to contribute as much as they see fit. If you donate upwards of $99, I will be happy to share a link to download the film, so you can rewatch/screen it in your locality/University/library, etc. If you are an organisation, and would like me to be part of post-screening QnA, do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to me for absolutely any questions you may have. Thanks again for your support.
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