No quarter

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 stay in such abusive relationships for years. The victims remain silent, enduring throughout the time and the abuser stays unpunished and unchanged.

No quarter is a story of such a couple Alo and Sagor who have been in an abusive relationship for more than 20 years now. It is a Docu-fiction, a storytelling method that combines documentary and fiction that attempts to capture reality as it is while simultaneously bringing in fictional elements in order to strengthen the representation of reality. The work is 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 favorite 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 favorite pastime for a while. I have visualized her story through a Docu-fictional family album, combining archival images from their actual family album, documentary images and staged images that were created based on the memories she shared with me. - Names have been changed and faces hidden to protect the identities of the people involved.

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No quarter by Shadman Shahid

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