Egypt is currently marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
A flurry of activities is taking place, including forums and seminars discussing problems hindering women from achieving progress; these include discrimination in the workplace, cybercrimes that also involve AI generated threats against women, as well as the plethora of perennial challenges facing women on the violence front.
Weeks before the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, however, an event took place that shed light on a form of violence so commonplace as to lose its prominence among the other forms of violence against women: domestic violence.
On 10 November 2023, the Ibrahimiya Centre for Media celebrated the Women’s Film Festival at Ramses College for Girls. The festival included a number of films that focused on common forms of violence which women are subject to, whether psychologically, physically or even verbally.
Brief speeches were given by members of the festival jury, including Mariam Kamal Farag Rizkallah, TV presenter and director of photography and lighting at “Miracle” TV channel; Larry Nabil, screenwriter and writer of children’s stories; and Reda Shawky, Director at the ON TV channel, Director General of Programme Evaluation on Egyptian TV and Vice President of the Second Channel, and Director at ME Sat channel.
Actors who starred in the festival films spoke of their experiences portraying victims of violence.
The awards were then handed to the winners. First prize went to Injy Samy who played the leading role in the short film Reflection which also won the Best Film Award. Ms Samy is a journalist who works with Watani. The film was screened; it won huge applause from all present.
Reflection depicts the subtle but all too common domestic verbal abuse of women. Ms Samy plays the young wife and mother engrossed and totally exhausted by her unending mothering and household duties, only to be belittled and humbled by an overbearing husband who fails to see the significance of her role in keeping the family going. Played by Sameh Nabil, he is awakened only when his sister pays them a visit, and opens his eyes to the cruelty of his abuse. Ms Samy plays the beleaguered mother and homemaker in an entirely down-to-earth manner, depicting a typical situation lived by a great many households. The film succeeds in highlighting a form of abuse so widespread that it may cease to be seen as abuse, yet, as Ms Samy says, it can be just as offensive and bruising as physical abuse.
The film was written and produced in a two-day period as part of a Mobile Filmmaking Workshop held in Alexandria in July 2023, taught by Professors Dan and Christine Henrich who describe themselves as: “We support media development projects and training overseas. This support involves training nationals in countries in Asia and Africa to use their mobile phones to write and produce stories of hope.”
6 December 2023