The new short film of Lacta, starring Christina Cheila Fameli and Hector Liatsos, entitled "Don't Ever Leave Me" was launched some days before, provoking multiple positive reactions. The campaign was made for the 25th of November; the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The script of the film is by Angeliki Kornelatou, Katerina Androuli, and Panos Samprakos, while the direction is donned by Argyris Papadimitropoulos. The film lasts a total of 4 minutes and 3 seconds, and presents the story of a young lady, who is murdered by her partner when she decides to break up with him.
Don't ever leave me. [Photograph]. ERT.
Lacta, a well-known Greek chocolate brand, is famous for their campaigns that praise love. The title of Lacta's short film "Don't Ever Leave Me" within the first shots, informs the viewer that this is another romantic story of Lacta, another tribute to the god of love. The only thing that seems to warn viewers about the progression of the story though is the choice of music. The film is framed by the song "Don't talk to me about love" sung by Dimitra Galani, with lyrics by Costas Asimakopoulos, and music by Giannis Spanos. Music is the first element that predisposes the viewer that Lacta, for the first time, will show to the viewer what is not love. A reversal that by itself seems to have enormous power.
"It was summer I was so happy...and so was he," those are the first words of the narrative, which in no way foreshadowing the following story, wherein a few minutes it escalates and ends in violent outbursts and attempts to control every aspect of the woman's life, until her tragic end. "I did everything, or so I thought. Now, it doesn't matter anymore. What matters is what you are going to do. While you still have a chance," says the protagonist of the film referring to any women who convince themselves that this is love, who ignore the warning signs, who are ashamed to ask for help, who forgive and give another chance, when the other shows no remorse.
The title of the film reappears at the end. This time, accompanied by a much darker clause: "Don't ever leave me...because I will hurt you." Lacta's film concludes with the following reminder: "Until today, in 2021, 13 women have been murdered in Greece, and thousands have been abused by those who supposedly loved them. This is not love."
Lacta. (2021). Don't ever leave me. [Video]. Youtube.
The Diotima Center for Women's Studies and Research, with which Lacta combined forces to make this film, is by the side of every woman who needs help. It provides free services aimed at supporting and empowering women, while at all stages ensuring confidentiality and respect for the individual will, choices, and experience of each beneficiary. According to the General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality, in 2020, the number of offenses related to domestic violence in Greece was more than three times greater than in 2010. Feminist groups estimate that at least one woman in Greece dies at the hands of their partner or ex-partner, each month.
R. Michaelson & M. Sidiropoulou. (2021). General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality. [Graphic]. The Guardian.
Lawyers and campaigners point to articles in the Greek Penal Code that enable a culture of dispensation around violence against women. Practically, this situation allows reduced sentences for those accused of homicide, if they were “provoked” or the crime was committed in a rage; often referred to as a “crime of passion.” They claim that adding femicide as a motive to the penal code would act as a crucial counterweight. In that way, the perpetrators would lack the opportunity to present themselves in court as innocents who were suddenly overcome by emotion that "justified" murder. “No one in my entire career has ever taken full responsibility, confessing they planned the murder exactly as it happened. They try to make excuses and say it was a crime of passion or something else, so they get a lesser sentence” says Ioanna Panagopoulou, a lawyer who represents the families of several victims of femicide (The Guardian, 2021).
When Nektaria was murdered by her ex-husband in Crete last month, she became the 13th victim of femicide in Greece in 2021. Everyone is talking about how important it is to stop violence against women, but we cannot do that just by saying it is bad. We need to build an environment, inside and outside the family, where women are protected and have equal rights. We need laws, and they have to be strict. Awareness-raising campaigns are important since they are an organized effort, bringing public pressure to bear on institutions and individuals and influencing their actions. Public awareness is always a vital element whether seeking individual behavior, policy change, or both. Campaigns over the past decades have contributed significantly to raising awareness of Violence Against Women as devastation of human rights that affect society as a whole. They encourage, support, and bring influence change in international and national legislative and policy frameworks.
Independent. (26, November 2021). ‘Not one more murder’: Greek women demand legal change to stop spate of femicides. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greece-women-murder-femicide-violence-female-b1964282.html
M. Raab, J. Rocha. Campaigns to End Violence against Women and Girls. UN WOMEN. https://www.endvawnow.org/uploads/modules/pdf/1342724232.pdf
Lacta. Don't Ever Leave Me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxXPltBr8Jg
R. Michaelson, M. Sidiropoulou. (10, November 2021). A woman murdered every month: is this Greece’s moment of reckoning on femicide?. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/nov/10/a-woman-murdered-every-month-greeces-moment-of-reckoning-on-femicide
Δ. Σκαλιώνη. (24, November 2021). Μη με αφήσεις ποτέ: Η Lacta μας αιφνιδίασε με τη νέα ταινία μικρού μήκους, για το τι (δεν) είναι Αγάπη. ERT news. https://www.ertnews.gr/eidiseis/ellada/mi-me-afiseis-pote-i-lacta-mas-aifnidiase-me-ti-nea-tainia-mikroy-mikoys-gia-to-ti-den-einai-agapi/
Don't ever leave me. [Photograph]. ERT. https://www.ertnews.gr/eidiseis/ellada/mi-me-afiseis-pote-i-lacta-mas-aifnidiase-me-ti-nea-tainia-mikroy-mikoys-gia-to-ti-den-einai-agapi/
R. Michaelson & M. Sidiropoulou. (2021). General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality. [Graphic]. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/nov/10/a-woman-murdered-every-month-greeces-moment-of-reckoning-on-femicide
Lacta. (2021). Don't ever leave me. [video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxXPltBr8Jg