Priyanka Chopra takes her responsibility as an international celebrity very seriously, whether she's trying to improve the image of Indian actresses on the world stage or speaking out for social causes. The Quantico actress recently used that celebrity status to launch a platform criticizing Zimbabwe for its treatment of children. Specifically, Ms. Chopra is sharing her feeling of horror at witnessing the level of violence and sex abuse perpetrated against children of that country, which she witnessed during a recent visit.
Quantico Star Priyanka Chopra Rages Against Real Crimes Against ChildrenAs Eyewitness News reports, Priyanka Chopra's recent visit to the East Africa country of Zimbabwe turned up some dismaying facts about the way children are treated in the country. The actress says she was startled to learn just how prevalent child sex abuse is in Zimbabwe and contacting the government about the issue only served to upset Chopra that much more.
Visiting Zimbabwe as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Priyanka reported her findings to the Zimbabwe government, only to be told that the country's young girls are "asking for it" in reference to the sex abuse of children. Once the girls have been raped, Priyanka reveals that the girls are further victimized by being told they were to blame, before getting kicked out of their homes and shunned by the rest of the community.
"I heard a lot of this when I asked these government officials who said girls are asking for it," the Quantico star reported.
Ms. Chopra adds that the abused girls are as young as three years old and had been raped by their fathers, uncles, and other blood relatives. Priyanka says she was "staggered" by the revelation that one in three children in the community have been sexually abused in some manner.
Ms. Chopra shared one story, which she felt especially heartbroken to hear.
"The pastor of their church told her family that she was possessed and she should come and live with him... but the pastor raped her for two years," Chopra said. "She was taken away from there and sent to another uncle and aunty of hers. The aunty then forced her to have sex with her husband, who was HIV positive. That was how she contracted HIV at age 17."
In explaining her Zimbabwe visit, Priyanka says she feels responsible to help poorer communities in the world due to her success, wealth, and social standing. The Quantico actress feels compelled to do what she can to help the less fortunate, which now includes giving a powerful voice to the sexually abused children of Zimbabwe.
Priyanka Chopra Applauds Outspoken WomenWhether you agree with her politics or not, there's no denying that Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech got people talking. As Indian Express reports, Streep's commentary produced a more impassioned response from Quantico's Priyanka Chopra, who hopped up on the table and began "screaming and hooting" amid shocked onlookers.
Chopra says Sofia Vergara, who was seated beside her, cautioned her to stop behaving as though she were at a football game.
Priyanka says she had a good laugh at herself and feels thankful that the Golden Globes had a smaller setting than other awards ceremonies with just over 200 attendees. She adds that Meryl's speech really was that good in her opinion.
The actress, who will also be playing the villain in the upcoming Baywatch feature film, has been asked if she's normally as vocal as she is at Hollywood events. She says she could only speak for herself, though she hasn't noticed any other Bollywood actresses refrain from speaking their minds.
"I am opinionated and if I have an opinion on something, I will voice it," says Ms. Chopra. "I can't say that it's really difficult to have an opinion in India. Every country is different and we are too."
The Baywatch star adds that, just like in America, Bollywood stars have to watch how they say things because anything can get blown out of proportion.
"But I do believe that public figures, in general, are soft targets, because it's easier to make a headline about someone saying something. Then it's sometimes misconstrued and that gets blown out of proportion," Priyanka Chopra said.
"But, I can't speak on behalf of everyone in Bollywood."
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]