Congratulations to SEMA member Leesa Gazi for winning the PSVI film competition with her beautiful and important film rising silence presented at the Movies the Matter Film Festival.

The film Rising Silence documents the lives of Bangladeshi women who, among thousands of others, suffered brutal sexual violence in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. That conflict remains one of the first recorded cases of rape used as a weapon of war in the twentieth century. The women in the film give their accounts of the horrific acts of cruelty, violence and humiliation. They speak of witnessing their children and husbands murdered and mutilated.

In moving words after receiving the award, Leesa thanked SEMA members for their support:

As we speak, there are 15 armed conflicts taking place across the world, and with that, the use of sexual violence. It is time for change. Working with Global Survivors Network, Sema, victims and survivors of wartime rape from 21 countries have been collectively speaking out about it. It is time to join them.

We need to remember, stand by, talk about, listen to, believe in, amplify and spread their voice by telling their burning stories with understanding, love, compassion and commitment; by saying their names- Rijia Mohon, Hlamrasong, Grace, Jharna, Sylvia, Shurjo, Suzy, Loubna, Mukhlesa, Bernadette, Erin, Komola, Vasfije, Mouna, Helen, Mildred, Nadiya, Tahiri, Sulimani, Barbara, Ooumu, Rajubala…

Innumerable women and girls like them had already been erased from our memories, our histories as if they didn’t matter.

Let’s keep their names and legacy alive in our hearts and join the movement to end the use of rape as a weapon of war.
We are counting on YOU, on US!

Read more about the film here.

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