The film New Morning was launched in Abuja to an audience of civil society, gender activists, broadcast media and Nollywood actors and actresses. The screening was preceded by a video documentary about the production of the music album, Singing Against Violence, in which the four artists WAJE, ElDee, Omawunmi, and M.I Abaga spoke out against abuse and physical violence directed at women. Eldee testified that “I have had a few close people to me who have had to deal with domestic violence, so to me it is something that I think needs more light and I am glad someone is taking the initiative.” Waje added that ‘there are so many times we read books, novels, newspapers that opens our eyes to what is going on in our society but it is totally different when you are looking at the person and seeing the pain.” Omawunmi’s message was directly to the women telling them to “be strong for yourself, make the right decision, and understand that ultimately, you need to be happy…don’t waste time” M.I.’s personal message to all men was, ‘I want every man to know, the goal, as my father raised me, is to be a good man and a real man. And a real man would never use his hands to hit a woman, never use his hands to disrespect her, or to force his way on anything but rather he would use his hands to protect her, to provide for her, to cover her, that is what a man should do.”
The movie producer and director Deji Arosho was at the film launch to explain the process that led to the movie outcome: “At first we were going to do another movie to raise awareness that many lives are being lost to domestic violence in Nigeria. But after consulting with women who had been in abusive relationships and also NGOs that work with abusers and survivors, we realised what was lacking was a practical example of what to do when women have had enough of violence or what to do if you know someone who is a victim of violence. That is the gap we want New Morning to fill: to show what can be done.” The NGO facilitating the film production with factual insights and real life experiences was the Women's Advocacy, Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC). WARDC has helped many women to either leave a violent relationship, or make sure that physical violence is avoided. The NGO has successfully lobbied in various states for legislation that protects women against physical abuse.
Overall, it was a night of glamour, reflections, debate and networking on the role of individuals, families and society at large when it comes to domestic violence.
Watch the video New Morning
If you missed the screening or cannot view it on your device, there will be another screening in Lagos soon.