An insight into violence against women

A three-day documentary festival, named ‘Our Lives...To Live’, is being conducted at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan till November 25. The event is being held by The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), in an effort to draw attention to violence against women and all kinds of gender-based injustice, within homes and communities.

The movie ‘Saving Face’, directed by Oscar-winning film-makers Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid- Chenoy, which was screened on Friday, depicted the traumatic conditions prevailing in Pakistan.The film portrays the story of women being victimised by brutal acid attacks, with numerous cases going unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred. Many reported assailants, typically a husband or someone else close to the victim, receive minimal punishment from the state.

The situation changed for the better when plastic surgeon Dr Mohammed Jawad leaves his prominent career in London to return to his home country in order to help the survivors of such attacks. The film ended on a positive note with the help of NGOs, empathetic policy makers and support groups helping to empower the women. The film also illustrates a changing Pakistan — one where ordinary people can stand up and make a difference.

The film shocked the audience by making them aware about the atrocities happening in Pakistan. Srinivas, a member of the audience, says, “I am horrified after watching this documentary. I was not aware of the situation being this bad in Pakistan. And what terrified me more is the way the criminals easily get out of such crimes. However, I am glad that the situation is changing. Women truly need to be empowered there.”

Another movie that received wide appreciation was ‘A Drop of Sunshine’ by Aparna Sanyal. The film showed the indifferent behaviour that people have towards patients suffering from schizophrenia.

 The movie narrated this through the story of a girl called Reshma, who was gutsy, witty, and glamourous. Unfortunately, in her times of difficulty she had nobody’s support. The girl had to battle against the society, doctors, psychiatry, mainstream notions about schizophrenia and even her own parents along the way. But Reshma survived, and now she leads a fulfilling life, free of medicines. The film points out that the so-called ‘patient’ should be encouraged and empowered to become an equal partner in the process of healing.

‘Three Dots’ by Roya Sadat also gave audience a compassionate insight into the story of a woman from Herat province, Afghanistan who smuggles narcotics to Iran in order to feed her children and keep a vengeful local Khan at bay.

The screening of movies was followed by a discussion, the topic being – ‘Our attitudes to mental health’. The discussion was headed by Dr Prathima Murthy, a psychiatrist with NIMHANS. The discussion was thought-provoking and the audience was enthusiastic about knowing many psychological problems in depth.

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