van we need to talk about harassment
Van-studio to receive the testimonials. In red, the director, Paula Sacchetta in action. PHOTO: Disclosure

It was a van turned movie studio. She kept deep secrets. When closing the door, silence, darkness and a camera welcomed women who had suffered harassment. For many of them, it was the first chance to talk about the trauma that surrounds the violence of those who have been through this abuse. Cases that ranged from a bad taste to rape.

The dark box of the van received the testimonies of 140 women, from 14 to 85 years old. Twenty-six of these testimonies make up the documentary We need to talk about harassment, by director Paula Sacchetta, produced by Mira Filmes. The film will have a video installation in the SESC Santana, aired from 1/31 to 3, showing the film's eight hours of raw footage.

In a society that naturalizes harassment, the harshness of the statements can be noticed by the look of fear, the distressed breathing and the outburst of those who realize – finally – that they are not alone. “One starts talking and encourages the other to talk”, says Paula, who drove the van to nine locations, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, offering a rare listening experience. “On the one hand, there was the reception and on the other hand, the cry, the denunciation. Let’s start talking together to try to change something.”

There is, for example, the case of a young woman who, wearing a blue mask symbolizing sadness, told of having been abused at age 13. She never had the courage to tell anyone about the violence she suffered, neither to the psychologist nor to the psychiatrist, even many years later. “They treat something they don't even know what it is,” she says. “As long as I don't treat this in myself, there is no medicine that can help. I can't,” she says. It can also be seen, throughout the exhibition, that in most cases the abuses come from people they know and who usually exercise a kind of power over the woman, such as teachers or doctors.

The film is just one part of the “We Need to Talk About Harassment” project. The idea of ​​recording the testimonies came from the perception that many women suffered harassment and kept silent, not knowing that it is so common. When social media displayed the hashtags #myfirstharassment and #mysecretfriend during what was called Women's Spring, what became explicit was the fact that harassment – ​​and sexual violence – is much more common than we think.

In partnership with the Municipal Secretary of Policies for Women of São Paulo, those who participated in the recording could also be assisted by an employee of the secretary, who forwarded the different cases to instances of legal and psychological support. In the website you can watch all the testimonies and send other testimonies. The platform also offers avenues for reporting and receiving, with addresses of all the Police Stations for the Defense of Women, scepters of reference for domestic violence, in addition to the legal provisions that protect people from this type of aggression.

It's the victim's fault

The documentary is extremely current and relevant in the face of a society that is sexist, misogynist and intolerant. This Wednesday (21), Datafolha released a survey on sexual violence against women. The numbers reveal that a third of Brazilians believe that the blame for the rape lies with the woman herself. The data, commissioned by the Public Security Forum, show that the problem is much bigger than one can imagine: every 11 minutes, a woman is raped in Brazil. It is estimated that only 10% of cases are reported, which suggests that 500 rapes occur annually.

The picture becomes more astonishing when it is verified that 70% of the victims of this type of aggression are children and adolescents, according to data from the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde). The study also points out that 85% of women are afraid of being raped.

That's why it's so important to talk about harassment. “Every woman, without exception, has a story to tell”, recalls Paula. "It's scary." In Brazil, rape culture is very much alive

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