UN Women docuseries sheds light on global efforts to end violence against women

To commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, UN Women hosted a screening of the docuseries "Unsilenced: Stories of Survival, Hope, and Activism" at the EMK Center, Gulshan on 11 March to raise awareness about efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls around the world. The 23-minute episode includes stories from Bangladesh, Ecuador, Serbia, the Solomon Islands, and Uganda.

Supported by the Government of Canada, the Bangladesh segment highlights policy advocacy efforts led by civil society organizations, with technical support from UN Women. A significant milestone was the passage of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2022 in 2022 by the National Parliament of Bangladesh, whereby the discriminatory clauses in Section 155(4)) of the Evidence Act 1872 were repealed. The amended Bill prohibits questioning of a rape survivor’s character during cross-examination in a trial and incorporates the admissibility of digital evidence. This is critical for empowering gender-based violence survivors as it seeks to eliminate the practice of re-traumatizing rape survivors, often referred to as ‘the second rape’.

The docuseries is part of UN Women’s worldwide campaign to raise awareness about ending violence against women - illustrating its various forms and how it is manifested and addressed in different contexts, by getting people to care and act. It consists of three episodes with 16 stories from around the world that shed light on common threads, root causes, and the human impact of violence, and how comprehensive action on ending violence against women can transform the lives of women and girls globally.

Stressing on the need to end violence against women, UN Women Representative Gitanjali Singh said, “Globally and in Bangladesh, we have seen advancements on women’s empowerment and gender equality. However, eliminating violence against women and girls remains a distant reality and we are progressing too slowly. As we commemorate International Women’s Day, I hope the docuseries serves as a powerful reminder that we are all accountable, no one can remain a bystander. Let us collectively push forward to end violence against women and girls once and for all.”

Following the screening, a photo exhibition titled "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress" paid tribute to the resilience, survival, and strength of Bangladeshi women. Curated by artist and feminist activist Monon Muntaka, the exhibition will be open for public viewing until March 23, 2024.

“The film shows the situation that women and girls are living in different countries. It showcases striking and often shocking figures, even if we know huge power imbalance exists in the world. But the film also depicts strength, just like these amazing photos being showcased at this exhibition - the strength of women to change their situation and the role of men and boys to rectify the situation,” said Maria Stridsman, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden.

Around 50 participants including development partners, civil society representatives, feminists and human rights activists attended the event.