Our honour is intact: Nadia Jamil calls out 'Hadsa' makers and Hadiqa Kiani

Actor Nadia Afgan also called out showrunners for failing to acquire 'consent'

Entertainment Desk August 30, 2023

The team behind the television show Hadsa recently found itself in hot water as internet users criticised its portrayal of a sensitive topic. Many called out the makers for allegedly basing the show on the motorway rape case without acquiring the consent of the survivor. Many others lashed out at the graphic depiction of rape, which may re-traumatize the survivor and trigger several others who have been through a similar ordeal.

A particular dialogue in the show also irked viewers for reinstating that rape brings shame to the survivors and not the culprits. Now, actors Nadia Afgan and Nadia Jameel have criticized the makers of the show, as well as Kiani, for failing to "acquire consent" and sensitively tackling the subject.

Actor Nadia Afgan took to her Instagram Stories to lament, “Consent is word missing in the dictionary of some of the channels in Pakistan. The content heads are insensitive and callous and approve anything just so the channels can make money.” She then went on to ask how, “from the writers to the makers to the actors, no one, not one person, thought about taking permission from the person whose story it narrates?” Consent!” she reiterated. “I’m disgusted and I’m heartbroken!”

Actor Nadia Jamil, on the other hand, shared a dialogue from the serial on her Instagram that is also being dragged on social media for insinuating that “izzat” (honour) is lost if one is raped, putting the burden of shame on the survivor. In a detailed caption, Jamil, a survivor herself, penned, “This is disgusting. As a survivor I am offended and disgusted by this comment. For non-Urdu speakers the dialogue basically says: ‘Like a corpse cannot come back to life, lost honour can never come back.’ The disgusting words used for rape in Hindi/Urdu, ‘Izzat lut jaana (being robbed of one’s honour)’, need to be banned!” She went on to remind everyone that “no honour of any rape survivor is robbed” and “those who raped had and have no honour.”

Jamil held that the rapists are the ones who should “feel/be in shame” and “the narrative of shame that is dumped on rape survivors is horrible.” In her lengthy note, the Behadd actor reflected, “Today, movements like #notmyshame shatter the shame that survivors of abuse and rape carry. Allowing us to belong to a safe place, a tribe that recognizes the shame was never ours to carry or suffer to begin with. Please do not encourage this ugly narrative of shame for survivors.”


A post shared by Nadia Jamil (@njlahori)

Jamil also tagged Kiani to assure her that she respects her but is disappointed. “I respect Hadiqa Kiani a lot but I believe saying these words was a mistake, that hurts! Many people watching this may have been raped and it’s the last thing they need to hear. And it’s a lie. Izzat hamari hamesha se mahfooz hee thee aur hai (Our honour was always intact and will remain intact). Our honour and dignity is not lost. It is the perpetrators who lost honour/dignity by this ugly act. Survivors are shattered physically, mentally and emotionally by rape. Their capacity to trust the world or even themselves is shattered. Their ability to live in their own bodies is shattered. Statements like this cement the painful and humiliating shame the survivors of rape are left with.”

The actor added that, as a society, we need to allow survivors to shatter this notion of shame and let them heal. “Please, I beg of you,” she urged, “do not use such ugly lines in your dramas. You are not only doing a deep injustice to rape survivors but also teaching and spreading ugly values. Please remember this woman is honourable. She is not dirty or ‘used’ because violent men forced themselves upon her. She is already feeling violated and dirty, do not re-traumtize her. Because let me tell you she is real, she is me and she is millions of other men, women, children and people of other genders.”

As for the people who want to make films or serials on sensitive topics like rape, Jamil insisted, “Please research and work with survivors and people facilitating healing in survivors, before throwing crap like this out. Deeply offended and disappointed. Respectfully Nadia J.”

Kiani responds to backlash

Prior to Afgan and Jamil’s criticism of the show, Kiani had shared her own explanation for doing the serial. Many had called her out, alongside the makers, for allegedly basing the show on a real-life event without taking consent. "To know that something I have been a part of is being used to hurt and trigger a survivor is something I cannot stand for. When I was asked to do the role of Taskeen for Hadsa, my first question was, 'Is this related to the motorway incident?' 'Is this based on the true incident?' I made it clear that I would not do the project if it were based on anyone's story. The team behind the project explicitly told me, 'No.' After many conversations with the team and only after reading the script, I understood that Hadsa was not related to or based on the 2020 motorway story,” tweeted Kiani.

She further stated, "Unfortunately, the horrific act of rape and violence happens far too often in our society to men, women and children from all social classes and all regions - often it happens on the road - in obstructed areas. Too often, family members are forced to witness the terror. These are the realities of the world we live in. I have sadly been exposed to many stories like this one, but I can say that Hadsa is not based on any one person's story; it is based on a sickly common part of our reality."

She capped off her statement, saying, "Rape and sexual violence are painful and traumatizing subjects – especially for survivors. I believe that episodes should air with trigger warnings, with caution for all those who have been exposed to such evils. I am in no position to say how survivors should respond - all I can say and hope for is that we bring the conversation regarding this evil forward and that we can all make strides to protect and empower survivors."

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