By Prisca Sam-Duru
LAST year, November 25th, during the commemoration of 16 Day Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the Acting U.S. Consul-General, Dehab Ghebreab pledged that the Public Affairs Section, PAS of the US Consulate Lagos will collaborate with Nollywood to produce a film that speaks to issues of violence against women.
That pledge was fulfilled on Wednesday 25th November 2015 at PAS, when a documentary featuring horrifying scenes of victims of violence, was screened to an audience.
It came as a result of collaboration between the US Consulate, Women Arise Initiative and Golden Movies Ambassadors, to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Elimination of violence
The Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate, Frank Sellin in his opening remarks, said that “Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It is the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a campaign we undertake annually with all U.S. embassies and missions in the world. Over the next two weeks, U.S. embassies and missions will all be working to raise awareness of the irreparable harm caused by gender-based violence.
We must all do more to end violence against women in all its forms, wherever and whenever it occurs. The crucial first step is for all of us to be clear in acknowledging it. There can be no conspiracy of silence. It happens daily, in peacetime, and in war. In the home, and in public.
Last year, Secretary of State John Kerry reminded us all that, worldwide, one in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. This violence knows no class, religious, or racial boundaries. When it happens, it comes at a terrible cost. Not only for the woman or girl who, if she survives, will likely end up shortening her education as a result of the violence, and is more likely to abandon her career plans.
Not only because her long-term health is in danger. Not only because she is at much greater risk for suicide. Not only because gender-based violence flattens and shortens the trajectory of a promising human life that could achieve so much more.
The human cost also devastates families, communities, and entire countries that depend on the success of all women. Preventing gender-based violence is the only way to achieve a future of peace, stability, and prosperity. Every one of us has a fundamental duty not to turn away in the face of evil and brutality. We have a duty to stop it, and to stand with the survivors.”
President of the Women Arise For Change Initiative, Dr Joe Odumakin said every case documented in the film was real adding that because two of the victims were dead, the scenes involving their case were blended with acting. “We must create awareness. People must speak out or die in silence. She advised Nigerians to be conscious of their environment. Don’t destroy evidence. Take action and encourage those hurting in whatever way you can.
The President of the Golden Movies Ambassadors, Saidi Balogun said Africans must not keep quiet in the face of evil. Come out and say things the way it is. Activists should wake up . He noted that his organisation believes in rebranding the nation. He advised corporate bodies and individuals not to sponsor movies that show nudity but rather, invest in movies that will help address the issue of gender-based violence.