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Love, Honor, and Disobey

Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Faction Films
Directed by Saeeda Khanum
DVD, color, 61 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Women's Studies, Domestic Violence, Crime, Criminal Justice

Reviewed by Lisa Flanzraich, Queens College, Flushing, New York

Date Entered: 5/9/2007

We see a microcosm of the pandemic of domestic violence in Love Honor and Disobey, which tells the story of the London-based Southall Black Sisters Union (SBS). SBS has provided a safe haven for Asian and African Caribbean Women since 1979 and has succeed in combating physical, sexual, and emotional abuse against women with their far-reaching programs in the community. This DVD is insightful and thorough in delineating the social and cultural pathology of domestic violence. Through personal accounts, we learn how women of color have been subjected to torture, battering, and even homicide. However, many of them have also overcome their traumas to begin new lives.

We learn that because of the confluences of immigration status, patriarchal attitudes, arranged marriages, cultural difficulties, urban culture, and plain misogyny men vent their anger and aggression on women. 25% of all the murders in London can be attributed to domestic violence; forced marriages play a significant role in contributing to this gaping statistic. One father slit the throat of his own daughter because she ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. One battered wife killed her own husband after years of abuse. However, she was acquitted. Another women, who was the wife of a priest, was subjected to both her husbandís attempted strangling as well as the reluctance of the police to fully investigate the charge.

Love, Honor, and Disobey stresses that while culture issues contribute to violent crime, these cannot ever be used as excuses to acquit the perpetrators of these actions. Women need to organize and pressure law enforcement to take abuse more seriously. Through the example of SBS, this documentary shows what women can accomplish when they are united together against brutality. A strong and stalwart force in the London community dedicated to protect, heal, and help battered women regain their lives, SBS is a political and social bulwark against this social problem.