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Documentary aims to help tackle violence against women

New documentary Sound Lad explores gender-based violence from perspective of young men who want to be part of the solution.

A new documentary has been created by young men with the hope of helping to tackle violence against women.

Sound Lad is a powerful 15-minute film, focusing on society’s perceptions of masculinity, and how damaging stereotypes can cause deep seated issues for men when it comes to relationships.

The documentary has been created as part of the Welsh Government’s award-winning Sound campaign – which has spent the last year working with young men in Wales to educate them about gender-based violence and healthy relationships, with the aim of ending violence against women, domestic abuse, and sexual violence.

As part of the campaign, It’s My Shout productions – an independent film production company that provides training for those interested in film making and the creative industries – were commissioned to create the documentary.

Young men from a range of backgrounds across Wales were given the opportunity to produce the film, and in doing so, immerse themselves in the topic of gender-based violence, while also learning professional production skills and gaining essential life skills.

Cal Roberts, a music producer from Flintshire, spoke about his involvement in the project:

“I think if SOUND had been around when I was younger, it would’ve healed my issues quicker and made me address problematic behaviours sooner. The project has helped me because it made me reflect on my past behaviours, and how many of them stemmed from my relationships with other men, including my dad. Being part of this project has been a kind of redemption for me for the times when I’ve hurt people with my behaviours.” 

Bringing men into the conversation

Gender-based violence is prevalent across England and Wales, with 4 million women and girls reporting crimes by men and boys each year.

The campaign brings men into the conversation, to see what they can do help become part of the solution.

Sound Lad, was filmed in Wrexham, Flintshire, Newport, Denbighshire and Cardiff and takes in honest accounts from men, including those who openly admit their behaviour hasn’t been ‘sound’ in the past.

Lee Evans – a keen gymgoer who hosts the Zito Run podcast – features in the documentary. He said:

“All I can do is own what I’ve done in the past and hold myself accountable for my issues.

“But like many other households in the UK and around the world, my kids got to see stuff they shouldn’t have, and it still guts me to be honest.”

The documentary also covers issues like intergenerational trauma, peer pressure, and the influence of social media personalities.

Cal said: “Young men need love. That’s a difficult thing to touch on with your dad when you’ve never-ever spoken about that kind of stuff. And I can’t imagine he’d ever spoken to his dad about that sort of stuff.

“I think there’s some generational stuff that goes on that causes us to be a bit broken maybe sometimes.

He added: “Conversation is the key to it all. It’s the key to undoing some of these problematic behaviours.”

Community engagement

In the documentary, Sound’s award-winning work and innovative approach to community engagement is highlighted.

From sessions in a boxing gym and conversations with professional footballers to talks with reality stars and students, men from all walks of life have helped shape this film with their open accounts of what it means to be a man – and how they can create safe spaces to encourage openness among their peers, with the aim of eradicating gender-based violence.

The documentary also features world-leading anti-violence campaigner and founder of She Is Not Your Rehab, Mataio Brown, who came over from New Zealand to see the Sound campaign in action.

Summing up, he said: “What I am going to take back to New Zealand after being here in Wales is it’s ok to open up and talk to our friends. We have to start having these courageous conversations.”

In the end, the documentary all boils down to the question: “Are you Sound, lad?”

You can watch the documentary, which has be shared, here: youtube.com/@SoundCymru