You are not alone: New docudrama series tackles gender-based violence in Kazakhstan
Anel is an 18-year-old Kazakh girl who was raped by her uncle. She told her grandmother about it, hoping that she would report the crime to the police, but her grandmother convinced her that she would manage the situation herself. Her uncle then tried to rape another girl, who escaped, and he was finally arrested. This is one of the real-life stories shown in the new docudrama series “Zhalgyz Emessin” (You are not alone) presented in Almaty and Astana from 18–20 April.
“Zhalgyz Emessin” is a Kazakhstani docudrama series produced by Trinity Production Centre in collaboration with UN Women Kazakhstan and the Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan, with support from the European Union and the Government of Kazakhstan. The nine-episode series features real-life stories of domestic violence survivors who have overcome difficult situations.
The series aims to increase awareness about how to stand up against gender-based violence and challenge gender stereotypes, norms and beliefs. It empowers survivors and calls on everyone to do their part to eliminate gender-based violence in Kazakhstan, while sharing key messages of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence and the Spotlight Initiative.
“Only by joining forces can we fight against domestic and gender-based violence. Survivors must know that they are not alone, that there is help, and that we cannot remain silent. Filmmaking is one of the best ways to raise awareness and let everyone know that we, as a world, will do everything we can to end gender-based violence. The European Union is proud to support this project and will continue its work in this direction,” said Kestutis Jankauskas, European Union Ambassador to Kazakhstan.
Each of the characters of the series has a different life story, but all of them once found themselves in a difficult situation. Each series provides contact information for hotlines, infographics and important facts about the problem of gender-based violence around the world and in Kazakhstan.
“Violence has no gender or age. The film crew was able to clearly show what to do if someone faces various kinds of violence. I would like to thank all the partners who made the successful release of Zhalgyz Emessіn possible. It is very important that the series will be available to a wide audience,” said Maria Dotsenko, UN Women Representative in Kazakhstan.
On 19 April, UN Women Kazakhstan organized a presentation of the documentary series at the Kazakh National Women’s Teacher Training University in Almaty together with the Centre for Social and Gender Studies.
“Unfortunately, recently we have been hearing more and more often in the press about egregious cases of violence that occur in Kazakhstani families. With this project, we wanted to show that violence is not a norm, that it is impossible to keep silent about it, and that this topic is important and necessary for society,” said Sandugash Rakhimzhanova, Executive Producer of the series.
Besides Rakhimzhanova, the Trinity Production Centre team also included directors Daulet Islyamov and Erlan Kussainov. Actors from Kazakhstani theatres and graduates of the Kazakh National University of Arts played the various roles.
The documentary drama combines actors’ performances with experts’ interviews, providing evidence-based cases and recommendations.
“This series is a very important educational project because it allows viewers to dive into the problem of domestic violence. As an Ombudsperson for children, every day I get complaints from parents about bullying at school or classmates beating up a child. This project shows such situations authentically, raising awareness about what survivors should do, and it’s very unobtrusive. I hope that through such a project and our joint struggle, that all forms of violence will be eliminated,” said Khalida Azhigulova, Children’s Rights Ombudsperson in Almaty.
The series is available on the “Aitu Superapp” mobile application and will soon be broadcast on national television.