GBV movie ‘Deafening Silence’ premieres in Lagos

Share our post

For decades, gender-based violence (GBV) has been a central issue in Nigeria, prompting immediate action and raising awareness nationwide.

Joining the collective effort to raise awareness and address this issue, Nollywood screenwriter, director, and producer Emem Isong-Misodi, in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN), premiered a movie Deafening Silence on Wednesday at the EbonyLife Place, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The project is a joint EU-UN spotlight initiative in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to raise awareness and eliminate all forms of violence against women and young girls in Nigeria.

The premiere, held on Wednesday, was graced by the likes of Oyinye Ndubuisi, Dupe Kachi, popularly called Ige, Sola Sobowale, Kate Henshaw, Desmond Eliot, and Majid Michel, among others.

Speaking at the premiere, the Head of Section of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ruben Alba Aguilera, said the project, ‘Deafening Silence’ aims to reach many Nigerians to create awareness on sexual and gender-based violence.

He said, “What we want to achieve is basically to raise awareness and to make sure that we reach out to every corner of Nigeria to break the silence and to open a debate about the effects of gender-based violence and try to bring change.

He added, “It’s about raising awareness, breaking the silence, making sure that people are aware that violence exists in our society and that we all have to play a role to stop it. That it is not okay that we cannot just accept that violence is used against our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters and that we all have to fight and we all have to play a role. So, the movie today is part of that initiative.”

Mr Aguilera added that the team embarked on the project to create awareness regarding GBV and proffer workable solutions for victims.

“We have also invested and worked to make sure that the victims of gender-based violence also have access to basic services, psychosocial support, and health services. We have set up 41 sexual assault referral centres across 20 states in Nigeria. And these are centres where victims can get access to support, including legal aid if they want to speak up and take their cases to court and to have access to justice.”

Deafening Silence

The deliberate suggestion of the oxymoron ‘Deafening Silence’ as the title of the movie emphasises the profound silence of GBV victims.

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), every 3 in 10 women in Nigeria have been a victim of sexual and gender-based violence. The silence has become mind-blowing and loud enough to cause attention and solutions.

The film will be showing in cinemas from 7 June and will be followed by a short series that will delve deeper into narratives alongside national television episodes.

The film portrays several individuals grappling with gender-based violence (GBV), struggling to voice their experiences and accept professional help.

The film tells the story of different women and young girls going through sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse from men and women who should protect them, such as husbands, police officers and guardians.

Jane, who as a child saw her father sexually harass their 16-year-old maid who, out of frustration, committed suicide, grows to despise her parents.

Jane leaves her father’s house to live alone since he has threatened to throw his daughters out. Her sister visits her to give her groceries, and while they are discussing, they hear noises coming from the neighbour’s apartment. Then, they rush to intervene. Just as Jane is trying to pull the girl child away from her mother, Agnes, who is forcefully trying to cut her hair, falls to the ground and starts accusing Jane of killing her.

Jane faces legal consequences after pushing her neighbour, Agnes, to the ground during an intervention. The court found her guilty and sentenced her to six months of community service at COAGBA, an organisation dedicated to combating gender-based abuse. While working there, Jane has the chance to assist victims in need.


Mrs Nwoke, a victim, reaches out to COAGBA for help because her only son, who is still a child, speaks rudely to her, and he has total disregard for women.

She reports her son, Junior, to her husband for neglecting to do household chores. Still, her husband supports Junior’s behaviour, attributing it to the belief that such tasks are solely the responsibility of women.

She takes Junior to COAGBA for counselling, but before they can achieve anything, Mr Nwoke enters the place, causing a scene. During the fight, he pushes Jane down for interfering, prompting her to retaliate.

That action leads them to the police station. Mrs Nwoke is unable to expose her husband. Instead, she defends him and covers up for physically abusing her in public. Mr Nwoke abuses her physically, verbally and emotionally, but the police protect him, saying a woman should be under a man.

Jane faces further hardships when she is imprisoned for pushing Mr Nwoke to the ground. While in custody, Jane meets Tega, a pregnant woman trapped in an abusive marriage but too fearful to seek assistance. Despite being released from custody, Tega returns to her abusive husband and continues to endure suffering.

To make matters worse, Jane visits Tega at her home and encourages her to accept help. That very night, Tega’s husband, Olaku, confines her to the bathroom throughout the night. The following day, he abandons her at the hospital entrance, leaving her in a pool of blood. Although she loses the baby, Tega thankfully survives.

Meanwhile, Mrs Nwoke takes action once to challenge her husband when he tries to make her call the blogs to clear his name.

Bimbo Akintola, Chidi Mokeme, Debby Felix, Kate Henshaw, Femi Jacobs, Toni Tones, Daniel Etim-Effiong, Ekama Etim-Inyang and others were actors who starred in the movie.

Akintola plays the role of Mrs. Nwoke, who symbolises women of high social status who experience abuse from their men but have to cover up for their husbands and protect them from the public. After he husband physically abused her in public, he started trending negatively online and to correct the impression, he wanted to coerce his wife to do so.

Tones, as Jane, symbolises activists who can’t stand the abuse of any sort and are willing to go to any length to help victims. Her character also sheds light on the fact that these abusers are going scot-free with their actions.

Debby Felix, as Tega, symbolises women who are experiencing sexual abuse even in marriage and feel helpless. Her husband forces himself on her, not considering how she feels, and if she complains or acts, she gets arrested by his brother, who is an officer of the law. Tega’s character buttresses how power can be misused.

COAGBA symbolises agencies willing to fight against gender-based abuse, but they need the victims to cooperate and voice out. They can save lots of women who dare to speak up and say no to violence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *