Gender-based Violence: UN, EU, UNDP Laud Movie Series 

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

The United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have applauded the Foundation for Resilient Empowerment and Development (FRED) movie series on Gender-based Violence (GBV), expressing  optimism that the series will shape the society.

The production titled ‘Deafening Silence’ is a feature-length film, comprising eight episode limited series, and  44 episode television series, which will soon be released to the viewing public.

The global organisations gave their impressions at the unveiling of the movie series at the UN House in Abuja, recently.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mattias Schmale, in his remarks, expressed satisfaction for being part of the intervention against GBV, which he described as a priority for his organisation. 

Schmale expressed the need to find better ways of communicating and engaging the people on the issue of gender-based violence. 

According to him, there was the need to produce more films based on tackling the issues of human rights – which is relevant today as it was 75 years ago. 

He stated that human rights of vulnerable people including women and children, particularly girls, should be protected.

The Deputy Head of Mission, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Zissimos Vergos, noted that gender-based violence is a global problem, adding that that there was evidence to show that one in every three women out there is subjected to physical, sexual or any other form of violence in their lifetime. 

He stressed that in the 21st century, gender inequality remains among the key drivers of poverty, and that this undermines cohesion and balance in the society.

In his opening speech, the Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, Mr. Blessed Chimrimuta, said that the collaboration of the EU-UN, UNDP, and FRED with the Spotlight Initiative aligns seamlessly with the plans of the government of Nigeria and the EU-UN Gender Action Points.

“This intervention seeks to challenge and reshape prevailing gender norms not only in Nigeria but beyond,” he said, admonishing the participants at the event “to reflect on the significance of the transformative journey we are embarking on”.

He reminded the audience that: “Deafening Silence is not just a movie for entertainment,” but according to him, “It is a movie in search to deliver a compelling and thought-provoking moments that will serve as a catalyst for sparking wider conversation around gender inequality, and gender violence, against women.” 

The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Charles Ebuebe, commended Spotlight Initiative and the partners and collaborators who joined forces to conceive and work on the project. 

He promised to stand behind the partners on the project and pledged to give all the necessary support within his jurisdiction, and frowned on a situation where people who suffer gender-based violence shy away from speaking up against abuse because of socio-cultural reasons. 

He also talked about the challenges of none or ineffective laws to tackle the problem frontally. 

In her overview of the series, UNDP Gender and Human Rights Lead, Onyinye Ndubuisi, 

said: “The title ‘Deafening Silence’ had been carefully chosen to encapsulate the profound paradox inherent in the issues, the movie and television series aimed to address: Gender Equality, Gender Empowerment, and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).”

She stressed that the series was designed to showcase to the world the transformative result chain intervention Nigeria is capable of doing. 

Anchoring on the UNDP Human Development Report on Gender and Social Norms, she stated that: “There is the need to showcase what we are doing globally.

“We know that there are different types of gender-based violence, and we also understand that to change norms requires time – so it is not an overnight venture.

“This is why we are starting with a five-year plan, and also to call on all our partners to come together for collaboration rather than fragmenting our efforts.”

According to her, ‘Deafening Silence’ is an exciting and captivating dama project that aims to deliver an immersive and compelling cinematic experience to its audience. 

The project story revolves around spotlighting the issues, challenges and victories surrounding survivors of GBV and spotlighting all factors relating to GBV, she added.

The series, directed by Biodun Stephen, stars some of the best of Nollywood – including but not limited to Toni Tones, Kate Henshaw, Femi Jacobs, Daniel Etim Effiong, Chidi Mokeme, and Bimbo Akintola. 

Others in the blockbuster film are Debby Felix and Ekamma Etim-Inyang. It also features Abiodun Adebayo as the Editor; Biodun Stephen as Director; and Emem Isong Misodi as producer.

The movie, which tells a horrible story of the social impact of GBV and its effect on people, families and society in general, will be available in cinemas and selected TV stations as a series. 

The aim of the movie is to inform, educate and curb the issues of gender-based violence in Nigeria.

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