Josina Machel is one of the panellists.
Josina Machel is one of the panellists.

Time to end the silence: film puts spotlight on gender-based violence scourge

Time of article published Aug 9, 2020

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Durban - Award-winning film-maker Anant Singh and his movie production house joined the fight against gender-based violence with his latest production, a short film which is aimed at getting victims and witnesses to break the culture of silence.

The film includes scenes from previous work produced by Singh’s movie company, Videovision Entertainment, which was launched on Wednesday.

He said he hoped that the two-minute film would encourage all who saw it to speak out in order to defeat violence.

“The film speaks powerfully to every individual. It was made to push some emotion, especially from men, to be able to see how vicious the problem has become.”

Singh said people should realise that if they keep silent, they become accomplices. “That was the overall intent.”

As part of the movie’s launch, an online discussion on the issue was tabled. The panellists included Singh, Josina Machel, the daughter of Samora and Graça Machel, UN Women executive director Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

Machel is a survivor of intimate partner violence which resulted in the loss of her right eye in 2015.

Her attacker was Mozambican Rufino Licuco. The assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm conviction against him was overturned in June by the country's Supreme Court of Appeal.

“My abuser took away my eye, and a few weeks ago, the Mozambican judicial system took away my other eye because I didn't see justice served.

“He is now an innocent man,” Machel said.

“This story is so familiar for many women in the country that it becomes difficult to celebrate all the victories achieved with sweat and blood. But in moments like these, we are encouraged by platforms that allow us to reclaim space and allow us to believe that this too shall pass. Women will not be abused forever.”

Machel said her experience was no different to what many women faced around the world on a daily basis.

Her cry was against secondary victimisation, which she said was what victims faced when they mustered the courage to report abuse. She lamented dysfunctional judicial systems which she said were used by perpetrators to strip women of their dignity.

Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted that South Africa was one of the countries with the highest number of women affected by violence. She said a disturbing factor was the treatment of gender-based violence as crimes of passion, and the murder of women as lesser crimes than the murder of males.

“The type of violence South African women experience is gruesome. More discouraging is that perpetrators tend not to face the full might of the law,” she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said her organisation was working on increasing the rate of reporting incidents throughout the world.

While their efforts were fruitful, Mlambo-Ngcuka said they looked forward to many more courageous women who were willing to tell their stories, no matter how painful.

“The fight is not over, by no means,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane congratulated Singh on choosing to highlight the pandemic and said the short film provided encouragement that women were not alone.

She shared that in June, 30 young women who were victims of gender- based violence had been buried. Most bodies had been found decomposed as perpetrators had attempted to conceal their crimes.

“We want to thank you for supporting the call by the UN Women and our president to celebrate women,” she said. “Women don't beat and kill themselves, they do not subject themselves to patriarchy, but it's men with low self-esteem who do these things. As women we have to fight on.”

The film is now available on social media platforms.

Sunday Tribune

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