I cannot tolerate violence against women

Unseen nets the main prize and the Audience Award at One World Slovakia
13. November 2020
Discussion in Ukraine
5. April 2021

Is the topic still taboo? 
Indeed it is, and not just in Slovakia. According to American psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman, violence is repeatedly forgotten in the history of mankind. It is a kind of protection that we have set up in order to function in this world. But as she writes in her book “Trauma and Recovery,” the truth always comes out. Furthermore, obstetric violence is all the more complicated because it unfolds behind the doors of obstetricians, where doctors and midwives often stick together. If violence happens, they tolerate it to some extent as part of their work and do not even have a safe space to be aware of it. A woman at childbirth is exposed, she is in a vulnerable position with little opportunity to realise the violence she is being subjected to, or to be able to protect herself against it in any way at that moment. It is a very complicated problem and it is up to the entire society to pay attention to this issue.

Childbirth trauma is a sensitive, intimate, and controversial issue. How did you prepare for the film?
I started the preparations in 2014 when I first began gathering information about the topic. I was wondering what could cause trauma and what childbirth could look like without medical intervention. I was in contact with several experts from different countries. Through them, I met my protagonists Stella, Lucia, and Melody. I could approach women during childbirth thanks to cooperation with midwives in hospitals. They provided us with their consent. Due to the invasion of their privacy, they were assured that they could review the footage and they gave us additional permission for the final cut.”

The journalist Martin Kudláč made the interview with the director of documentary Unseen, Maia Martiniak. Whole article you can read at Cineuropa, 2.12.2020