In 2018 I got out of an abusive relationship, though I never spoke about it until 2 years later. Talking about my experience with intimate partner violence was too triggering and uncomfortable for me up until that point: Having constructed a feminist identity and having a clear image of my values and goals did not match with my victimhood. This feeling reached a peak when my friend told me that she noticed my boyfriend behaved really aggressively towards me, and if she wouldn’t know any better, she would think he was abusing me. She added: “But you would never allow that.” I find this image of victimhood interesting initially because it had kept me quiet about my abusive partner for years, but as I delved deeper into my inquiry into victimhood, I found a complex construction of victimhood that resulted in silence amongst victims in many different situations. My documentary ‘Dat Zou Jij Nooit Toelaten’ explores shame, self-image, silence and victimhood through my own story and interviews I conducted with two other victims.
This work was made especially to be screened at the Bad Feminist Talks in de Melkweg on March 7th 2020. Because of the precarity of the subject, I asked both my interviewees to be as transparent and direct as possible regarding their wishes. One of the interviewees asked me to send her the scenes with her in it, so that she could publish it. The other one was less comfortable with making her experience public and asked me to delete her footage right after the screening for her safety. The trailer of my documentary is still public. After the screening of my first documentary, I spoke with two other victims of partner violence in a panel talk, to discuss the documentary and our feelings.