Loading...
Brenda's Battle
Now Watching
Brenda's Battle
Next Suggested Video
Love and Life: Live on Air

Brenda is a health care worker in South Africa who is educating young women about sexual and reproductive health, particularly the dangers of illegal abortions. But she faces many challenges, including corrupt doctors and powerful cultural taboos.

Flash Player 9.0.115+ or HTML5 video support is required to play this video.
Loading...

Produced and directed by Lara Acajou.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

Loading...

Share this video

Include start time Get current time
Include related videos, articles & actions
Loading...

Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Across the world, unsafe abortion is the cause of 13 percent of maternal deaths, with millions more women left injured, disabled, or infertile. In South Africa, abortion is legal up to 20 weeks, and can be accessed for free at government clinics. But cultural taboos mean that women still risk their lives with secret but unsafe abortions.
BRENDA [Worker, Marie Stopes Clinic]
Good Day. I'm Brenda from the Marie Stopes Clinic.
VOICEOVER
Brenda works in the community, educating people about sexual and reproductive health.
BRENDA
I feel passion about it because it's my mission to help women to educate themselves, to know their rights. So I want women to be independent, to have a say.
VOICEOVER
A big part of her mission is putting a stop to the practice of unsafe abortion.
BRENDA
It's not easy really to talk about abortion. Because our culture, we don't talk about our sexuality, our private parts. It's very sensitive issues. So I find out that most women, they don't know about all the contraceptives. They don't know much about termination. They don't know who to talk to.
VOICEOVER
With no one to talk to, pregnant girls can end up making risky decisions, like getting an illegal abortion. Brenda decides to pose as a girl who's passed the legal date for abortion and calls up an illegal provider.
DR. LESEGO
Hello.
BRENDA
Hello doctor. Good day.
DR. LESEGO
Good day.
BRENDA
I'm pregnant. I want to have an abortion.
DR. LESEGO
For how many months?
BRENDA
I'm 6 months pregnant. What are you going to do to me?
DR. LESEGO
Some pills.
BRENDA
Some pills. I'm going to drink the pills?
DR. LESEGO
Yes. The one, you're going to drink it. The other one is going to go in your private parts. So you must squeeze it there and it comes out as a piece of blood. It's going to come in the pieces of blood.
BRENDA
Oh, in the pieces of blood.
DR. LESEGO
Yes.
BRENDA
Six months pregnant! A pill? I don't think so. He doesn't even ask about the medical history or something. You can't do that as a qualified doctor.
VOICEOVER
Determined to make young people aware of this problem, Brenda visits a local college with 19-year-old volunteer Pinky, whose friend fell prey to one of the con men.
PINKY
I've got a friend, she went for an abortion. When we got there, it was, like, there were steps and rooms, lots of them.
BRENDA
Little passages?
PINKY
It was really dark in there. This is the room we have to go in. On the other side there was a slum. We got in the room. The guy didn't ask us ...
BRENDA
How far you are?
PINKY
Nothing! No! So, she did it. She went inserted pills under the vagina. When she got home there were all these pains and the little baby came out. She went to school, bleeding. That's when the parents knew, that's when the boyfriend knew that she did the abortion. She went back, and they wanted more money. She didn't have money, so she got sick.
GIRL
Maybe that unsafe abortion, it can damage something inside, unlike safe abortions.
BRENDA
Sometimes, the pills are mixed with, um, donkey dung, and, yes, they put it inside the vagina. So, just imagine these things are going to end up causing an infection inside. You understand? Sometimes, the abortion doesn't even happen. You are still pregnant, and now you have an infection. Thank you guys. The only thing we would like to see you do is to educate the youth about these issues. Be a role model. Thank you guys!
VOICEOVER
Brenda will continue to educate women about their reproductive rights. Modern contraception is vital, but unintended pregnancies will happen and women must be educated and empowered to avoid unsafe abortions.
BRENDA
This is not safe. For women, it's not safe. They're the only ones who terminate. So, as a woman, as a mother, this is not right for your health.
INTERVIEWER
So you're not going to stop?
BRENDA
No, I'm not going to stop. I think I've just started.
TITLE
Make Women Matter. Made in partnership with Marie Stopes International, European Union.