It only takes one person to make a big difference in the world, and no, that’s not just a cliché.
This short film, Viola, Franca, appears to be the only Italian addition to this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, but it’s a powerful 15 minutes not to be missed. Directed by Marta Savina, it’s the true story of a woman, Franca Viola, in 1965 Italy who was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by an unwanted suitor.
According to Italian law at that time, she could have been forced to marry her rapist in order to save her family’s honor, but in 1966 she was the first woman to refuse what was then called a “reparatory marriage”.
With this courageous act of defiance, one that her family fully supported, her rapist was convicted to 10 years in prison and the laws in Italy were changed. Franca Viola stood up for herself and in effect, for all women. Franca and her family were interested in justice, not revenge, and the country took notice, changing ideas about violence against women forever.
On this day after International Women’s Day, it’s good to remember that one woman can make a big difference, and she doesn’t have to have money or power, just resolve, conviction, and courage.