Rural Media’s Powerful Dramatic Short Promotes BBC Countryfile to Cover Rural Domestic Violence
Willows – Dawn’s Story
A film about a woman’s escape from rural domestic violence
Domestic violence in rural areas is different.
Abuse lasts on average 25 times longer in the most rural areas. Feelings of isolation, of being alone without support, or the means to get to a place of safety mean that the more rural the setting, the greater the risk of harm.
Herefordshire-based charity and film and television production company Rural Media has teamed up with Rural Action Derbyshire and the Derbyshire Police & Crime Commissioner to produce a 20-minute drama, “The Willows”, highlighting the challenges facing women and men. victims of domestic violence are faced living in a rural area. .
Excerpts from The Willows can be seen on BBC1’s Countryfile at Sunday 13 June in a segment focused on domestic violence in rural areas.
“The Willows” is about Dawn, the wife of a young farmer. The film opens with Dawn and her husband Peter leading their daughter Hattie to school along a secluded lane in Derbyshire. Peter waits in the car while Dawn walks their daughter to the school gate. But when Dawn’s return is delayed by the teachers, Peter’s frustration grows and his hostility is evident when Dawn finally gets back into the car.
As the story unfolds, we get powerful insight into how trapped she feels, how unhappy she is, and the family dynamics at large. Rural life can be tough, but it shouldn’t be that hard.
Building on the report “Captive & Controlled – Domestic Abuse in Rural Areas”, commissioned by the National Rural Crime Network, a shocking picture of domestic violence in rural Britain is revealed, with victims hidden – isolated and unprotected – stranded by a system, services and even those around them.
Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby
“I commend The Willows Project for its vital work in raising awareness about domestic violence in rural settings. “The Willows” is a powerful film that, without sensationalism, highlights the suffering that women and households can experience due to coercive and abusive behavior – even in the most idyllic settings. I am grateful that the film, in addition to highlighting the problem, offers potential avenues to help
Bev Parker, CEO, Rural Action Derbyshire
“Domestic violence is not just physical, although it can happen too, it is often more subtle. Coercive and controlling behavior is generally hidden and the perpetrator can be well respected in the community, as we see in the film. Peter is on the cricket team and sits on committees. He is “all smiles” to the outside world, but far from public life, his sinister demeanor is frightening. The movie makes it very real and uncomfortable.
Nic Millington, CEO, Rural Media
“Rural Media has been working with rural communities for 30 years and domestic violence in rural areas is unfortunately not a new problem for us. It was important for us to create a storyline and world for Dawn that reflected the real and often unspoken experiences of rural domestic violence victims, who speak so powerfully to all sections of the community. We are delighted that the film ‘The Willows’ has such a positive impact.
The film Willows was produced in two versions, a 20 minute feature film and a segmented four part version for use as a training resource.
Specifics of the project:
• Watch The Willows on BBC Countryfile – BBC One, Sunday June 13, 6:00 p.m.
• Share the film The Willows via Rural Media’s Youtube here
• Learn more about the project here
A Behind The Scenes of Dawn from The Willows, Image Credit: Kate Hayward, Rural Media