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Deafening Silence: An Exploration of Gender-Based Violence

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Deafening silence

From the conceptual meaning, “deafening silence” refers to an unexpected silence when a response is anticipated. The film, “Deafening Silence” poignantly addresses this very issue, delving into the multifaceted nature of gender-based violence, particularly highlighting how married women are often silenced after entering marriage.

“Deafening Silence” shines a spotlight on the pervasive issue of gender-based violence, bringing to light the struggles and silent suffering of many women.

Produced by Emem Isong and directed by Biodun Stephen, the film was spearheaded by the Spotlight Initiative in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the European Union (EU). With a cast featuring Toni Tones, Chidi Mokeme, Bimbo Akintola, Kate Henshaw, Daniel Etim-Effiong, and Femi Jacobs, “Deafening Silence” is a movie is not just a cinematic endeavor but a vital part of the UNDP’s efforts towards attaining gender equality in Nigeria.

Avoid the plot for spoilers.

Deafening Silence

Directed by: Biodun Stephen
Produced by: Emem Isong
Genre: Drama
Released on: June 7, 2024 (Cinemas)
Language: English


The storyline follows Jane Douglas, who finds herself in trouble after intervening to save a little girl from her abusive mother. Accused of overstepping, Jane is sued and sentenced to six months of compulsory community service at COAGBA (Coalition Against Gender-Based Abuse). During her time at COAGBA, Jane discovers a new passion for helping women in similar situations, igniting a powerful journey of advocacy and support for victims of gender-based violence.


The plot starts with a flashback, whose significance only becomes clear at the story’s climax. We are then introduced to Jane Douglas, the protagonist, and her sister, showcasing their strong bond. The story takes a dramatic turn when Jane interferes with her neighbor, Mrs. Agnes, who continually abuses her daughter.

Mrs Agnes reports the abuse to the authorities, but lies, claiming Jane injured her. As a result, Jane is sentenced to six months of compulsory community service at COAGBA (Coalition Against Gender-Based Abuse) without bail. This incident catalyzes the unfolding narrative.

At COAGBA, Jane discovers her passion for helping women and children affected by gender-based violence. She channels her determination to fight against injustice into this new endeavor, encountering various situations that strengthen her resolve to advocate for the victims.

Towards the end of the film, it is revealed that Jane’s fighting spirit stems from the trauma she faced as a child, with her mother being unresponsive to the abuse happening within their home.

This revelation adds depth to Jane’s character, illustrating how her past experiences fuel her drive to protect and empower others who are silenced. Jane’s journey at COAGBA transforms her and motivates her to speak up even for those who have been silenced for too long.


All actors delivered performances that met expectations, effectively bringing their characters to life. However, Toni Tones’ portrayal of Jane felt one-dimensional, reminiscent of her snobbish character in “Aburo.” In contrast, Kate Henshaw, playing Mrs. Comfort Ajibade, imbued her role excellently, showcasing a passionate and strict demeanor that aligns with her character’s commitment to the cause.

Ironically, Mrs. Ajibade and Jane are quite similar in their approach, and at the start, Mrs. Ajibade expresses disdain for Jane. The cast also included talented actors such as Chidi Mokeme, Bimbo Akintola, Daniel Etim-Effiong, and Femi Jacobs, who contributed to the film’s overall strong performance.

Technical Aspects

All technical elements were executed with simplicity to convey the story effectively. While nothing stood out as spectacular, each aspect was handled competently, ensuring the narrative remained the focal point. However, there were a few moments where the sound or music abruptly stopped, which could be jarring. Aside from these instances, the technical execution was smooth and unobtrusive.

Final Thoughts

Deafening Silence is a film that stands out for its unflinching exploration of gender-based violence in its many forms, from emotional to physical abuse. The movie delves deeply into the silent suffering of women, particularly highlighting how they are often silenced within the confines of marriage.

Through the compelling story of Jane Douglas, who is thrust into the world of advocacy after being unjustly sentenced to community service, the film illuminates the pervasive issue of gender-based violence and the profound impact it has on individuals and communities.


The film is primarily topical, making it an essential watch for those interested in gender violence and advocacy. If you want to ignite your passion for these critical issues, “Deafening Silence” is the film for you. However, from a purely cinematic perspective, it doesn’t meet the mark, earning a rating of 2 out of 5.

Rating: 2/5

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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