No quarter

Shadman Shahid

2017 - Ongoing

No quarter is a story of a couple Alo and Sagor who have been in an abusive relationship for more than 20 years now. It is a Docu-fiction created based on the many interviews that I have taken of Alo. During the interviews she told me about her life before and after her marriage, sharing the memories that have left the deepest marks. Like sharing snapshots from a family album except these snapshots are not as biased to happy memories as most family albums are.

During her interview she told me while growing up, she was a bright child and how she was her father’s favourite among all her siblings. She liked the Thundercats and she liked to make dolls. She told me that it was normal for a girl to get married when they were nine, but she herself got married when she was 15 to a man who was 30. Right after their first daughter was born, the abuse started. Her husband would beat her up every time she disagreed with him if she complained about anything if she talked to another guy and sometimes just for existing. There was a period in their life when she was accused of being pregnant with her brother’s child. During that time, she was forced to get an abortion of a child that was three months old in her womb. She told me about her suicidal tendencies and how she takes blood out of her own body with a syringe to paint the walls with it. It was her favourite pastime for a while. I have tried to visualize her story by making a Docu-fictional family album using images from their actual family album and staged images that were created based on the memories she shared with me.

She told me despite all this she still loves her husband and that her children are the most important part of her life. She wants no justice or not particularly eager to see her husband get punished but she wishes a better life for her children. 

87% of the women in Bangladesh are victims of domestic violence in Bangladesh. The numbers tell us that the Bangladeshi society, including the victims, take it as a normal and predictable part of life. In many cases, the couple stays in such abusive relationships for years. The victims remain silent, enduring throughout the time and the abuser stays unpunished and unchanged.

But what causes the violent act in the first place? Could violence sometimes stem from love? It can’t, perhaps from something construed as love but which in reality is more about wanting? Maybe it stems from insecurity, jealousy, inadequacy, pride, social stereotypes, substance abuse and bruised egos. It could be misplaced expressions of anger and misconceptions of owning another human being. Violence can stem from weakness and an illusion of love. – Names have been changed and faces hidden to protect the identities of the people involved.

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