Dawn is from South Africa. She grew up watching her father beat her mother and went on to live in abusive relationships herself for many years. After finally fighting back against her husband, she understood that she didn’t want the kind of power he had been wielding over her. She left him and sought help with substance abuse recovery.

Both she and her mother are content to be on their own, free from abuse.

Note: This story contains explicit content and is recommended for mature viewers age 14 and up.

Key points to consider in viewing Dawn’s story

People very often blame women for staying in abusive relationships rather than questioning why men abuse them in the first place. Some viewers may feel that Dawn should have left her husband sooner or that the violence was her fault because she chose abusive men as her partners. Consider how you can challenge this kind of victim blaming, reflect on how cycles of abuse and poverty make women vulnerable, and celebrate Dawn’s eventual escape from abuse.

Learn More

Sonke works with many communities to use storytelling and digital media to help people tell their own stories around gender, violence, HIV and AIDS and related issues.

Sonke partnered with Silence Speaks to enable young people and adults affected by violence and HIV and AIDS to share their stories. Other digital stories have been produced with former prisoners who experienced sexual violence in jail. And the MenEngage African Youth Alliance and Sonke partnered with UNFPA to produce “Youth Stories of Change” along with a discussion guide and other resources.

Through intensive, participatory video production workshops, Sonke is bringing rarely-heard voices and images into the civic arena. Our hope is that by highlighting everyday stories, we will deepen existing conversations about gender norms and health issues, as well as empower the storytellers and their communities.

Download Resources

Click here to download a facilitator’s guide, discussion guides and other Digital Stories resources to assist in the use of these tools in your community.