Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  50 minutes
Date:  2003
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Against My Will

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The stories of three women who took refuge at the Dastak women's shelter in Pakistan, founded to help women fleeing abusive and murderous families.

Against My Will

'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.' - www.indiewire.com

'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 and 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


Main credits

Ergün, Ayfer (film director)
Ergün, Ayfer (film producer)
Ergün, Ayfer (interviewer)
Elahi, Asya (interviewer)
Batool, Farida (interviewer)
Shahin, Robina (on-screen participant)
Hassan, Naima (on-screen participant)
Khan, Mehboob Ahmad (on-screen participant)
Mohammad, Ghulam (on-screen participant)
Looze, Jan Willem (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Camera, Rob Brouwer, Saskya Jol; editor, Jan Willem Looze.

Distributor credits

Humanist Broadcasting Foundation

Ayfer Ergun

Humanist Broadcasting Foundation
Ayfer Ergun

Docuseek2 subjects

Criminal Justice, Law and Legal Studies
Family Issues
Human Rights
Middle East and North Africa
South Asia
Women's Studies
Middle East Studies
Asian Studies

Distributor subjects

Criminal Justice
Family Relations
Human Rights
Middle East
South Asia
Women's Studies


Pakistan; femicide; honor; family; killings; murder; women; abuse; Arab; Islam; Islamic; law; Pakistani; documentary; film; video; "Against My Will"; Icarus Films

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