Project Description

Domestinc Violence Video Documentary

GIIP fellow Natasha Collins had a busy summer working with domestic violence programs . Over the course of her internship, she completed a video documentary about domestic violence against women. Working directly with the grassroots organization María Elena Cuadra (MEC), Natasha’s work consisted of interviewing experts, including doctors, judges and journalists, as well as running mini-workshops for women to share their testimonies, knowledge and experiences. At the end, she and Ana Flores, the head psychologist for MEC, headed “chats” about domestic violence and presented the completed video.

The project required both hard work and flexibility on Natasha’s part.  She was able to interview doctors, journalists, and judges, but far more important to her were the first-hand testimonies of women from MEC. “Building solid trust-based relationships, I was fortunate enough to videotape these testimonies,” she says. “I’d  planned to put the interviews with doctors and journalists with them, but found that women were most responsive when listening to women tell their stories, especially when it was someone they knew, so I restructured the video to focus on them.”  It was that flexibility that made her project so relevant and interesting to the women of MEC.

“The point of the project was not just to highlight domestic violence,” says Natasha, but to show how survivors and community organizations are dealing with the problem and finding solutions. It became a lesson in human resilience for her and for the women involved. “With the right guidance and support from family, friends, and community organizations, people can get back on their feet no matter how hard they fall,” She explained. “One of the hardest parts of my work this summer was to keep from getting depressed, but seeing court cases won and the compassion and solidarity I found among the women I worked with definitely overshadowed any low points.”Natasha’s internship was a real success. Her video documentary was well received, and she’d like to see more students get involved with MEC and the other Granada women’s groups. “They love new faces, and new perspectives and you’ll leave learning more than you could ever give.”