Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread, extreme, and devastating problems taking prevalent proportions and countless forms today. It knows no social, cultural or national boundaries. It is a global phenomenon - and a global taboo.
In Palestine, this universal taboo is preventing survivors from being vocal within the prevailing patriarchal culture. This further exacerbates gender inequality, and limits the restrictive roles of women within the domestic ambit.
NO MEANS NO is an initiative taking place at film and media festivals across the world seeking to raise awareness and bring about change that positively affects survivors of gender-based violence.
At the core of this initiative, we put our hands together and ponder: How can the medium of Cinema expose and louden the debate surrounding gender based-violence across cultures? What is the role of media and filmmakers in affecting social change and raising awareness of sexual and gender-based harassment as a human rights violation, particularly in light of the #TimesUp & #MeToo movements? Does the classic image of Women in Arab Cinema help maintain and infuse toxic masculinity and power dynamics in the region? What is the role of female directors in upholding and transmitting patriarchal values through their films? How can - and should - boys and men engage in combating violence against women? Does cinema enable such opportunities?
Men are also affected
Although women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence, men and boys are by no means spared.Men are expected to hide their emotions and keep silent and the psychological, physical and sexual violence against them is neglected and rarely discussed.
Break the silence
During Palestine Cinema Days, the topic of sexual and gender based-violence will be challenged, through the lens of Cinema. We aim to explore the ability of creative media and film to amplify and transform the debate on gender-based violence across cultures, with a special attention on the Occupation and its impact on gender and family dynamics. The thematic focus on this topic will culminate in a discussion that will gather female filmmakers, human rights activists, and lawmakers together to debate and share local and international perspectives.