Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Culture, Entertainment Play Vital Role in Fight Against SGBV, Says EU – New Telegraph

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As part of its Spotlight Initiative interventions on sexual-gender-based violence, the European Union (EU), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recently premiered the movie ‘Deafening Silence’ in Lagos.

The film, starring Nollywood actors Kate Henshaw, Bimbo Akintola, Chidi Mokeme, Daniel Etim-Effiong, and Femi Jacobs among other Nollywood actors, highlights various aspects of sexual-gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, child abuse, and the importance of raising boys to respect women At the recent Lagos premiere of ‘Deafening Silence,’ Ruben Alba Aguilera, Head of the Governance, Gender Human Rights and Migration Section at the European Union (EU) Delegation, emphasised the crucial role of culture and entertainment in combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Nigeria. The feature film, which was jointly hosted by the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), advocates for gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria.

“Movies are a good example of how we are trying to spark a debate, break the silence, and challenge some of the stereotypes and social norms that exist in our society,” said Aguilera. “Nigeria is a very patriarchal society, and we have some preconceived ideas that we think are fine. What we’re trying to show with ‘Deafening Silence’ is that it’s not like this.”

Directed by Biodun Stephen, ‘Deafening Silence’ portrays various forms of SGBV, including sexual harassment and child abuse, while emphasising the importance of teaching boys to respect women. The cast features Chidi Mokeme, Kate Henshaw, Bimbo Akintola, Toni Tones, and Daniel Etim-Effiong, among others. According to Aguilera, the movie is part of the broader Spotlight Initiative, a collaboration between the EU and UN aimed at preventing SGBV globally.

Launched in 2019, the programme concluded in 2023 after a significant investment of over one billion Naira, resulting in 41 Sexual Assault Referral Centres across 20 states in Nigeria, along with a specialised court for prosecuting offenders.

“Change is possible,” added Aguilera. “By leveraging the creative industries and the power of Nollywood, we want to reach every family, every household, and every corner of Nigeria. We want people to speak up and question the status quo.” The film industry remains one of the most effective channels to engender positive change in society, and for Aguilera, by collaborating with Nollywood, the EU is planting seeds of change.

He disclosed that the film will be screened for free in select cinemas in Nigeria, with plans for a mini TV series and another production on Netflix. “If every family watches the movie or series and discusses the role of women in society and the unacceptability of violence, we are making a huge difference,” Aguilera concluded.

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