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Against My Will
Directed by Ayfer Ergun
Produced by Humanist Broadcasting Foundation
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"I wouldn't dream of trusting my family." - Anita

In Pakistan, many women who decide to leave abusive marriages are signing their own death warrants. They risk being disfigured or murdered by men who believe it is the only way to restore honor to the family.

Authorities in Pakistan rarely respond to reports of honor killing. The Human Rights Commission Pakistan and the Women Action Forum estimate that 1000 women are murdered each year, with little or no response from the government.

At the Dastak women's shelter in Lahore, women accused of tarnishing the family honor find a safe haven. Here, in this tidy building with a well-kept lawn, they live in safety, receiving both counseling and legal advice.

Kubra is one such woman. After enduring repeated beatings, the 28-year-old fled to Dastak. We meet Kubra - armed guard in tow - on her way to a meeting with members of her family. They entreat her to return. Eventually, she agrees. Three weeks later, she is murdered, shot to death in her sleep.

Through Kubra's story, and the stories of other women at Dastak, the film creates a portrait of one institution that is protecting Pakistani women, at least the women who can make it there.

"A heartbreaking documentary about honor killings in Pakistan." -

"Outspoken and poignant. The film does an excellent job of conveying the horror and humanity of the lives of these women. The combination of footage from the shelter, the legal office and scenes and interviews from Kubra's village and family make AGAINST MY WILL a very powerful statement against 'honor killings.'" - Al Jadid, A Review & Record of Arab Culture and Arts

"Recommended!" - Educational Media Reviews Online

2005 National Women's Studies Association Film Festival
2004 Association for Asian Studies Film Festival
2003 Prix Italia, Best Human Interest Documentary
2003 Middle East Studies Association FilmFest
2003 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (Greece)
2002 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival

50 minutes / color
Release: 2003
Copyright: 2002
Sale: $348

Subject areas:
Asia, Criminal Justice, Family Relations, Human Rights, Islam, Middle East, South Asia, Women's Studies

Related Titles:
Bastards: Outcast in Morocco: One woman’s fight to have her daughter legitimized by the Moroccan judicial system.

Crimes of Honour: Filmed in Jordan and on the West Bank, investigates the terrible reality of femicide—the killing of sisters or daughters suspected of losing their virginity, for having refused an arranged marriage or having left a husband.

Dishonored: The story of Mukhtar Mai, whose demands for justice after being raped, led to an historic series of legal proceedings in Pakistan, and media coverage worldwide.

War and Love in Kabul: Hossein's and Shaima's love is a story about honor, tribal laws, disgrace, fear, and hope for change in a war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Grassroots in Dry Lands: Tells the story of three unconventional social workers united by a common vision that transcends the antagonisms between their countries.

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Last Updated August 17, 2016
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