Ayesha Omar opens up about being a sexual assault survivor to Rose McGowan

Ayesha Omar opens up about being a sexual assault survivor to Rose McGowan

"A huge powerful man, twice my age, when I had just entered the industry at 23. And it went on for years," shared Ayesha
Updated 05 Aug, 2020

In light of the #MeToo movement that grew in strength after women started coming out with their stories, actor and director Rose McGowan opened up about her struggle in 2017, 20 years after she was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, the now disgraced American producer.

In a live Instagram conversation with Ayesha Omar, McGowan revealed how she gathered the strength to finally speak about what had happened to her.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

"I always had a voice, just no one was listening," she Rose. "I was waiting for society to be ready. I needed Trump. Hilary Clinton protected Weinstein in a major way. I needed Trump to show people this is racism, sexism, and this is what ugliness really looks like."

As a survivor standing against the world, she also opened up about going through the ordeal alone.

"I didn't have friends. No women's groups to help me, nothing."

However, she was confident that the harasser was the only one to blame.

"It was never my shame," Rose said, as she often waited for someone she could meet one day, who would make a difference in the way things were happening. "And then I thought, nope, it's gonna be me."

Omar also added how being in Pakistani society, fear and shame are two dominant emotions for women in such circumstances. "We are not allowed to be angry," said the Bulbulay actress.

The duo then together discussed how the blame of assault is usually shifted on women. Sometimes through clothing, and other times because they are just "asking for it".

"#MeToo triggered people all over the world; it's a communication tool, it's there to say, I know your pain," said McGowan. Soon after, Ayesha too, shared the story of her own assault.

"A huge powerful man, twice my age. I had just entered the industry, I was this young 23-year-old, fresh out of college, and bam, this started happening. And it went on for years," she shared.

"It wasn't a one-off incident, and I just didn't want to process it. I put in a box, and I said okay, this is happening in my life, I have to deal with it. I didn't wanna share it with anybody. I let it stay there for 15 years, and I finally spoke about it to someone two years ago."

"A friend of mine from the industry also came out with her story, and TV channels started calling me up and asking 'Do you think she's telling the truth?'" Ayesha told Rose.

"And I said 'I would believe any victim'. They asked me if sexual harassment happens in the industry and that's the first time I said yes. They asked if it happened to you, and I said yes. I will talk about it someday, but not today. I still haven't named my monster but I've started talking about it," Omar said.

Rose also mentioned how her own activism too started way before the Weinstein incident.

"I'm really about men and women to see each other as human, and not through gender," she concluded.


Toni Aug 04, 2020 01:33pm
"I still haven't named my monster but I've started talking about it," Omar said." This is what is hurting other young actors who then don't have the courage, the monster should be named. It is never about the money and it certainly should not be that the industry of film and drama will suffer. Go Omar be there for the other young girls that Oprah, Clinton and Meryl Streep could not be and showed lack of awareness, that's unbelievable.
Akram Aug 04, 2020 01:49pm
Ayesha, please tell us your story when you are ready. I realise it's tough, but these monsters need to face justice if the women in our society are to be free.
Amir Aug 04, 2020 02:08pm
trying to get back in , name the culprit please.
Indie Guy Aug 04, 2020 03:32pm
Stay strong and speak up against these monsters.
M. Saeed Aug 04, 2020 04:05pm
If she says: "I put in a box, and I said okay, this is happening in my life, I have to deal with it. I didn't wanna share it with anybody. I let it stay there for 15 years" and now hints about it without opening the lid of the box, it must be a much more complex case of harassment.
Ifti Malik Aug 04, 2020 07:35pm
Who was the shameful Pakistani Weinstein, who harassed poor Ayesha Omar?
Nafees Mahmood Aug 04, 2020 11:53pm
This is outrageous! Ayesha you must NOT spare this person, expose him ASAP please. I know It would be very painful but you have to do it. This is totally against our religious and social concepts. He must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Farooq Aug 05, 2020 04:28am
By not exposing and naming him. You are in a way protecting him and also exposing other girls to this ugly monster out there. It needs to be taken head on sooner then later. Be brave, the society now understands and supports.
WASEEM MALIK Aug 05, 2020 05:09am
After 15 years? Really? Expose it now.
Shahid Aug 05, 2020 06:22am
What is the point in allowing only those comments getting printed which follow Dawn’s official line. Why not let both sides have a discussion, them asking Aysha to name the culprit and those like me who question her that how could that have gone on for years without your consent.
Iqbal Zaman Aug 05, 2020 12:24pm
Am sure almost every working woman in Pakistan has met these predators in their lives.
Laila Aug 06, 2020 06:12am
It's hard enough for women globally to come e forward, so when a woman in our Pakistani society comes forward, she stands to lose everything, her reputation, her integrity, family, work etc and in addition be mocked, taunted, shamed and blamed. Understand how incredibly hard it is. Listen to us. Stand with us.
Illawarrior Aug 06, 2020 08:59am
@Nafees Mahmood The problem is the extent provided by Pakistan law is woefully inadequate - there are seldom any witnesses to these crimes, victims are not believed, and often face charges themselves, because they can't prove their allegations. Pakistan laws let so many criminals avoid punishment, even for murder, because perpetrators are able to bribe/coerce complainants. Fix the laws first!
Zak Aug 06, 2020 09:45am
Brave women. Ayesha Omar should shame the culprit.
AJ Aug 06, 2020 10:49am
Name and shame the culprit please, and seek justice from the court of law by substantiating the claim.