This piece is about the coronavirus pandemic and how it has put all our lives to a complete stop, by changing the reality around us forever. From the way that we make sense of work, to the ways in which we connect to people inside and outside our homes and even the way in which we understand society, politics and culture- the pandemic has compelled us to redefine and revisit what we always had taken for granted. It is in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that we see an absurd surge in the cases of domestic violence, not only in India but across the whole world.
It is in this context in which women find themselves completely shackled and confined that actor and filmmaker Nandita Das’s short film ‘ Listen to Her’ gains an extreme importance. She has once again brought for us a film that is not just visually powerful and engulfing but one that is sure to compel us to think and act in the right direction.
Having gathered support from various United Nations Agencies such as UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and South Asia Foundation(Madanjeet Singh Foundation), Nandita Das has made and now released her short film entitled Listen to Her.
The film is seven minute long and is sure to be an eye opener for the whole of humankind. It is through her film that she is encouraging victims of domestic violence to take the courage to speak up and requests us to not witness domestic violence as bystanders and instead do something about it.
This film is about the life and realities of two different women amid the lockdown. Oe of them is worn out and torn between the dual responsibilities of domestic chores and having to work fro home and the other one is a woman who is trapped in her home, with an abusive partner and is subjected to extreme violence.
The film highlights the fact that the survivor must gather the courage to speak up against violence and torture.
The film shows us how despite the odds, the survivor musters the courage to speak up against the violence.
Thus, Listen to Her, emerges as an extremely crucial film to address and challenge growing cases of domestic violence amidst the lockdown.
As a country, India is known to have extensive gender violence.
If one were to look at data from the National Commission for Women, one would find that a wobbling 257 cases of crime against women were registered merely within 10 days of the lockdown, as compared to 116 cases for a duration of seven normal days.
Moreover, from the beginning of March to April , a total of 315 cases of domestic violence had been reported. The period of the lockdown has seen extensive cases of domestic violence and heightened abuse by violent partners.
Women Rights activists say that the actual number of domestic violence cases is much higher, because a majority of those who experience violence don’t muster the courage to speak up against their oppressors. This is a film that we must spread as much as possible, because it may act as an important tool in raising awareness against a horrifying global surge in domestic violence.