- A gender-based violence awareness short film produced by filmmaker Anant Singh and Videovision was recently released.
- In under two minutes, the cast and crew that made the film skillfully tell the stories of a number of women facing various forms of abuse at the hands of men.
- This Women's Month, the film can serve as a window to the lives of women who need protection from their abusers.
Nelson Mandela's quote — "Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression" — ends the heart wrenching gender-based violence awareness film produced by filmmaker Anant Singh and Videovision.
Regrettably, the late Tata Mandela's hope for women's emancipation remains just that — a yet-to-be-achieved ideal, 26 years after South Africa's first democratic elections.
South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. A woman is murdered every three hours. One in four men admits to committing rape. We all know the stats are grim.
What this film does in only 1 minute 55 seconds is a step closer to the stories that are often solely expressed in statistics, jargon and political argot. Reminiscent of Oscar-nominated film, Yesterday, also produced by Anant Singh and starring Leleti Khumalo, this GBV short film leaves one emotionally moved.
All images screenshots via the GBV awareness film.
While Yesterday told the story of a mother, who is deserted by her migrant worker husband after he infected her with HIV, this short film taps into the lives of various women who've been victims of GBV. In both instances, women find themselves living on the trenches of society.
Watch the film below:
GBV has become synonymous with the sadistic killings of women by their intimate partners and other vulturous men who feel safe to commit these heinous crimes as they know the chances of incarceration are slim to none.
Women and members of the LGBTQI+ community wake up every day to exist in a country that devalues their existence; even worse, at any given point, they may be killed in a gruesome attack. Numerous organisations work tirelessly to fight the scourge of GBV, often with minuscule tangible results due to various reasons, including resistance from certain sections of society and active discrediting of survivors by abusers and their cronies.
Speaking on making the film, Singh says it is thought-provoking because when people, particularly men, stand on the fence or don't speak out, it has a devastating effect.
GBV survivor and activist, Josina Machel, daughter to Graca Machel and step-daughter to Nelson Mandela, lost her eye to her abuser. She succinctly explained the predicament that many women face, saying, "Men wake up every day and they beat, they maim, they kill, they renegade the lives of women, they discredit the women that have the courage to speak up about the horrors and their experiences."
Secondary victimisation remains a serious problem for women who muster the courage to report the abuse. "These women then have to muster the courage again to stand before systems of justice that have been created to stand and protect these women… but these very systems are then used and manipulated by our abusers to strip us off the bit of dignity we manage to put on… to relegate and ridicule the experiences of women," she says.
Watch the film launch event below:
The film launch Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, called for the flattening of the curve of GBV. "The type of violence women experience in South Africa tends to be quite gruesome and even more discouraging is the fact that perpetrators tend to not face the full might of the law," she said. Mlambo-Ngcuka adds that we need a paradigm shift as GBV is regarded by some as a crime of passion, thus reducing it to a lesser crime than other crimes such as murder.
Though she believes efforts to eradicate GBV are effective, Mlambo-Ngcuka concedes the fight is not over by any means as society took a long time to mobilise men and let them take responsibility. A lot of time was previously spent evangelising women as if they had to do something to stop GBV when men should have been held accountable.
Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane is supportive of the film, saying society needs to work together to uproot the evil that still treats women as inferior.
"No woman should get a fist, or a clap or get her eye taken out by a person who should love her. Or even a stranger," she says.
What the producers of this film did in just under two minutes is quite extraordinary and deserves to be seen by everyone.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact one of the organisations below:
Gender-based violence Command Centre: “Please call me” facility: *120*7867# Emergency line: 0800 428 428
POWA helpline: 011 642 4345
SADAG has a WhatsApp counselling line that operates from 9am to 4pm: 076 882 2775
To speak to a SADAG counsellor: 0800 567 567
Tears Foundation helpline: *134*7355#
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