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In Senegal, online videos break silence over domestic abuse

DAKAR: For Senegalese activist Fatou Warkha, on-line movies play a significant position in her marketing campaign to show and finish violence in opposition to ladies in a rustic the place discretion and forbearance are historically prized.

The 30-year-old grew up in Pikine, one in every of Dakar’s poorer suburbs, the place circumstances of home violence, rape and abuse had been as commonplace because the district’s energy outages and seasonal flash floods.

After she failed to boost consciousness by grassroots activism, Warkha launched a web-based tv channel in 2018, hoping the anonymity supplied by the Web and its attain would possibly encourage ladies to open up after generations of silence.

“After I began making video stories, that was when it appeared like issues began altering,” Warkha advised Reuters in her residence in Pikine.

The challenge has sparked much-needed debate and helped result in actual change. Its movies of ladies or actors recounting true tales of trauma and abuse have been extensively shared on social media and picked up by native tv stations.

Warkha preparing her equipment before shooting footage in the streets of Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal.Warkha making ready her tools earlier than capturing footage within the streets of Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal.

In line with World Financial institution information, as of 2017 round half of the inhabitants of Senegal was utilizing the Web.

Among the movies performed a task in a profitable marketing campaign for the criminalisation of rape, which was signed into regulation on Jan 10.

The channel now plans to provide stories explaining the brand new regulation and the way rapists and abusers could be held accountable, Warkha stated.

Ladies have to “know the best way to protect the proof to allow them to show {that a} rape has occurred,” Warkha stated. “Aside from that, extra work must be accomplished to boost consciousness in regards to the rights of ladies and kids.”

Warkha meeting with women in a medical center as they prepare an awareness campaign against malaria in Pikine.Warkha assembly with ladies in a medical middle as they put together an consciousness marketing campaign in opposition to malaria in Pikine.

Her mission to interrupt the silence on society’s ills runs counter to deep-rooted cultural mores resembling ‘Soutoura’, which implies to be discreet within the native Wolof language, ‘Massla’ – to tolerate and compromise, and ‘Mougne’ – to endure.

In one of many channel’s sequence, titled ’16 voices, 16 victims’, a lady tells how as a toddler she watched her father beat her mom till she did not rise up. One other report particulars the homicide of a younger lady at college.

Funding is a problem. The station sells its manufacturing providers to cowl the price of making its personal movies and receives some NGO assist. Gradual Web speeds and the ability outages are additionally a problem.

Warkha shooting footage in the streets of Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal.Warkha capturing footage within the streets of Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal.

These difficulties haven’t dented Warkha’s perception within the significance of expertise for activism.

“I typically inform folks that you are able to do nice issues with only a cell phone,” she stated in her front room, the place the ability had been out for a number of hours. – Reuters

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