WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINE
It threatens the lives of more young women than cancer, malaria or war. It affects one in three women worldwide and leaves them mentally scarred for life. It is usually inflicted by a family member. ‘It’ is violence against women and girls. Women and War reports from around the world on the many faces of this scourge, and meets the brave individuals who are trying to put a stop to it.
Episode 1: Nepal
In this film we document how difficult it is for Nepal to staunch the flow of young women being trafficked each year across an open 2,400 km long border with India… and meet some of the women on the front line who are trying to put a stop to the trade. We follow 24-year-old Sushma as she sets out to find the man who lured her to a brothel in Kolkata.
Episode 2: Turkey
Turkey is cracking down on custom killing, making life imprisonment a mandatory sentence. Killing female family members in the name of honour for perceived injury to the family’s standing is a crime emanating from centuries’ old traditions. We discover there is disturbing evidence that tougher sentencing is leading to an increase in forced suicides.
Episode 3: Morocco
Morocco is coming to terms with the human rights abuses of its recent past. Televised testimonies to a truth and reconciliation commission set up by the Government have transfixed the nation. Morocco is discovering the truth about wrongful imprisonments, torture and disappearances of the past, but also the prominent role women played in resisting abuses of the law in the 1970s and 1980s.
Episode 4: D.R. Congo
For the last ten years, the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been at war. The women bear the brunt of it. The precise number of victims suffering from rape and related diseases, of which traumatic fistula is one, is impossible to know. Shunned by their community, the women are often reluctant to come forward for treatment.
Episode 5: Austria
Austria is a pioneer in the protection of women and has a ten-year-old Protection Against Violence Bill. In the words of one of the bill’s architects, “it shows men the red card”: under the law, police have the power to eject men from their homes, which then become domestic sanctuaries for the women.
Episode 6: Mauritania
In Mauritania it is illegal to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. And punishments are severe for any kind of relationship out of marriage. Rape is undefined in the country’s law, and for a woman to allege she has been raped is to run the risk of imprisonment. Unsurprisingly, few do.
Episode 7: Colombia
The film follows the life and work of one local judge, Esperanza González. She has been trained by the PDPMM “Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Magdalena Medio” on sexual and reproductive rights and she says her judicial sentences have changed: they now include a gender view on the problems she deals with.