FOFCOD to Host Gender Based Violence Film Festival

From 9-11h December 2013, Forum for Community Change and Development (FOFCOD) will hold the 1st Juba Gender based violence Human Rights Film Festival to mark the sixteen days of activism against Gender Based violence and mark international Human rights Day. The festival will screen 9 Gender based violence human rights related films and will be followed by often passionate and emotional discussions about women’s rights and how to report violence against women. One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavour entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and discrimination. After each screening a public debate will be held on the topic related to the film screened. The festival is expected to receive about 2000 visitors and a lot of national and international media attention. The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

Gender based violence is a matter that affects large sections of the South Sudan society yet often a taboo topic. It is on the lips of all and sundry yet its remedy remains largely shrouded in mystery as silence, discrimination, victimization, trauma and suffering continue to antagonize its victims. We recognize that there are diverse strategies in place trying to address gender based violence and discrimination. While most interventions usually use exceptional data on the intensity of gender based violence and also explain how victims can seek out remedy through the law, very few interventions cross-examine the assorted fundamental socio economic and even political factors that amplify gender based violence, stigmatization and the discrimination that go with it
In South Sudan, Sexual and Gender Based Violence is a very serious problem. Information available indicates that defilement is amongst the top crimes in over 70% of counties the country. For instance in a report by the Yei County Probation officer & Police Child &Family Protection Office (CFPO) indicate that on average 75 GBV related cases are reported & handled every month. The CFPO indicate that rape & defilement was the second leading crime of GBV nature registering 30 cases per month. In the war-torn South Sudan SGBV is even more common. A study conducted in Yei County in 2012 by Forum for Community change and Development found that rape, attempted rape and forced marriage were common. In IDP camps, return areas, settlements and refugee hosting areas, domestic violence (wife battering) is always quoted as the most common form of gender violence followed by defilement and forced and early marriages. In South Sudan IDPs Camps which has about 15,000 refugees, there were 399 reported cases of domestic violence, 156 cases of defilement, 15 cases of forced marriage 37 cases of early marriage, 37 cases of marital rape and 5 cases of rape reported over a period of one year, between July 2011 and June 2012. There is no single day that passes without some form of GBV reported on radio in South Sudan. Some of the stories are appalling. There are cases where parents, mainly fathers, have been reported to have defiled their own children. High levels of domestic violence are reported in IDPs and Refugee Settlements. There are increasing incidences of women being killed by their partners in gender related violence.

The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavor entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and domination.

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