Kazakh Film “Gorgon” Addressing Violence Surpasses One Million Views

ASTANA—The documentary film “Gorgon,” directed by Kazakh filmmaker Rinat Balgabayev, which focuses on the issue of sexual violence and supported by UN Women, has garnered nearly a million views since its premiere in early March, reported the Kazinform agency.

Photo credit: UN Woman Kazakhstan

A widespread social media trend in 2022 inspired the film’s concept. Thousands of girls globally shared images featuring Gorgon Medusa to symbolize their experiences with violence.

In addition to the narrative segment featuring real stories of sexual assault survivors, the film provides valuable insights from experts on combating gender-based and domestic violence in Kazakhstan. It includes links to resources, such as a guide for victims of violence and contact details for crisis family support centers. 

“Violence has no boundaries and it is a growing global societal issue. Every member of society must contribute to addressing this problem,” said Lyazzat Suleimen, Deputy Chairwoman of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy.

She mentioned the commission’s ongoing efforts to collaborate with relevant authorities on drafting legislation aimed at supporting families and enhancing penalties for various forms of violence, including assaults causing minor, moderate, and severe harm, as well as torture. Beyond addressing the aftermath of domestic violence, experts are also focused on identifying and addressing its root causes. 

Naila Mukhtarova, Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee on Youth and Family Affairs of the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Information, identified gender stereotypes as one of the underlying causes of violence. 

“To address this issue, experts have identified three key transmissions: vertical, where parents impart cultural values to their children, horizontal, where peers educate each other, and informational efforts through mediums such as films and the internet,” added Mukhtarova.

The Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Information is backing the work of crisis centers and has developed a methodology for a project focusing on psychocorrective interventions with aggressors. Additionally, in collaboration with partners, they are introducing a new master’s program in gender studies this year.

According to the UN, one in every six Kazakh women faces violence every year. In Kazakhstan, as in many other countries around the world, gender-based violence often remains hidden due to the stigma and fear of victims of potential discrimination and misunderstanding.

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