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Video: A Way to Justice – Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation

Written By: Sonke Gender Justice Network
August 5, 2011

 

A Way to Justice: Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation from william nessen on Vimeo.

Across the world, in places expected and unexpected, men are joining women to challenge patriarchy, end men’s violence against women and promote gender equality.

To capture a sense of this growing movement, Sonke commissioned filmmaker William Nessen to interview leading activists at the MenEngage Africa symposium in October 2009 to create a film, A Way to Justice: Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation

Focusing on four personal stories from Africa – with an additional eight interviewees as analysts  – the film follows each through terrible times to each one’s eventual triumph, as they confront and transcend the forces that have wreaked havoc with their and their nation’s life.

David Tamba, a Sierra Leonean running from civil war whose wife is gang-raped by rebels, spends a decade in refugee camps.  Pascal Akimana, then an 11-year old Burundian child fleeing both his father’s and his country’s violence, finds even more violence across the border in the DRC, where soldiers batter him senseless and rape his younger sister.  Jennifer Gatsi, a Botswanan-Namibian woman growing up with a father who beats her mother nightly, is forced to wed a violent husband who infects her and two small children with HIV. And Trevor Davies, a white Zimbabwean photojournalist, whose career-focus blinds him to the dire struggle of a son who dies of AIDS. Each of the four feels defeated by the violence and loss they’ve suffered.

Eventually, Tamba overcomes his shame-filled powerlessness to form an organization of men confronting violence and unfair gender roles in West African refugee camps. He goes on to form a national movement in Sierra Leone to push successfully for historic laws defending women’s and children’s rights.

Having sworn to join the rebel movement and kill his violent father, Akimana realizes that reconciliation are his and his country’s only righteous path.

Davies finds a solution to his guilty pain and a key to talking with men resistant to women’s rights by campaigning for a “fatherhood revolution” – a more responsible, caring form of male parenting to benefit women, children and men alike.

To help other women with HIV, Gatsi focuses on changing young men and thus herself rises above the intimate physical and emotional hell created by the men in her life.

As other of the interviewees — Gary Barker, Tyler Crone, Lydia Mungherera, Lynn Ngugi, James Arana, Abhijit Das, Dawn Cavanagh, Jonah Gokova – punctuate with concluding reflections, refugee Tamba sweeps the viewer along toward the film’s powerful emotive end.

Learn more about Sonke Gender Justice here.

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