In Iran, men can legally abuse, coerce, humiliate, rule over and speak on behalf of women. Five female activists run a one-year campaign. Their goal is to pass a law that makes domestic violence a crime.

Banafsheh (36), Sedigheh (33), Zahra (37) and Jelveh (41) are Iranian feminists who have been working with abused women from different regions, social classes, religions and educational backgrounds for years. In 2016, in an attempt to raise awareness for women issues and to end the acceptance of brutality against women, they founded an NGO called „SOORA“. Each of our protagonists has her individual knowledge and motivation. But their goal unites them. They want to generate attention for the issue of domestic violence. They want to enable a discussion in society. And they want parliament to pass a new law that will finally turn domestic violence into a crime. But neither the government nor the public, and not even the media are interested in women issues. As a first step, SOORA helps victims of domestic violence to overcome their shame so they can open up and break the silence. The four SOORA members take us on a tour through Iran from Tehran to the southern, northern, western and eastern regions where we will experience different ways of living in Iran. We will learn about its diverse traditions and about the ways in which male power is executed with the support of the law. Their campaign “Stop Domestic Violence“ has Banafsheh, Sedigheh, Zahra and Jelveh running workshops, building a community, publishing women’s experiences on websites and discussing a draft for the new law that would prohibite domestic violence. Everything has to happen in secret. Since freedom of speech does not exist in Iran, it would be a crime to publicly announce the campaign. The lives of our four main characters are always in danger. There is no guarantee that their campaign can reach women and men the way it needs to. But the four women are determined to keep raising these issues until the urgency of the new law can no longer be denied. They go out of their way to meet with other SOORA members in the underground, to search for supporters and volunteers, to deal with opponents – and to support victims of domestic violence. Director Mina Keshavarz accompanies the activists on their one-year run of the campaign that takes them all over Iran. Where does the acceptance of violence against women come from? Do the activists stand a chance as they raise attention within a dictatorial system? How do they deal with the struggles? And most importantly – will they succeed in breaking the silence and in passing the law?


Current Affairs
Film by Mina Keshavarz
Length 75’ / 52’ HD
Co-Production TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion and MinDoc Film Productions with ZDF/ARTE
Completion December 2018