Mumbai, March 8: British-Asian actress-singer Sofia Hayat, a victim of child sex abuse, appeals to women who have been victim of rape or other violence to rise above such things and live their dreams.
"Always believe in your dreams, even if your family is against you, even if you are from bad background," Sofia said here at the Dynamic Awards For Women Thursday.
Sofia was born in Gravesend, Kent, Britain. She was brought up in a strict Muslim family along with her three sisters - Zarqa, Saira, and Tahira.
Recalling her growing up years and how her family had fallen on hard times due to financial crunch, Sofia, 28, said: "When I was a child, I was abused by my uncle. My family didn't have money. My mother used to stitch clothes."
"I even remember the day when we didn't get food in school as we didn't have money. So, if you are poor or there is any problem or raped like I was by my uncle, it does not mean your life is spoiled forever."
She fought her way to fame and made a name for herself by featuring in British shows such as "Absolute Power" and "Fur TV".
She made her Bollywood debut with "Diary of a Butterfly".
Now Sofia is happy with her life.
"When I was a child, everyone used to say, 'Her uncle did that to her, she didn't have money at home, so and so.' But just see where I am now. I am so proud to be a woman.
"Although my background was not good, but my present and future are good. So all the women of India, you can achieve anything you want," she said.
Sofia insists it is high time women should stand for themselves.
"Women have to stand up for themselves. They should not be scared otherwise people can affect you. Women have to be strong. They have to show the society that they are not weak. And this has to be done by each and every woman," she said.
She feels that women should step forward when they see another woman "being abused on the street".
"If somebody says something even to a poor girl, stand up for her. We all are one," she added.