Shouting ‘no more’ to gender violence

A powerful stand in graphic novel format

Ten Italian comic creators have joined forces in a unique collection of stories that has one strong message: enough with gender-based violence.

They achieved this through the format of a comic, the graphic novel, where the stories they tell use the immediate and powerful visual medium of comic panels.

Originally published in Italy under the name Fai Rumore (Il Castoro publication), and now translated into Maltese by Clare Azzopardi and published by Merlin Publishers, Aqla’ Kjass! is a collection of 10 stories that highlight episodes of gaslighting, slut shaming, fatphobia, catcalling, date rape and other situations of gender-based violence.

These stories portray the voices of women who want to tell these stories themselves and say “enough, we will break the silence and make a noise so these things do not happen again”.

Aqla’ Kjass! opens with an introduction by Audrey Friggieri, the Commissioner for Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence. As Friggieri states: “In Aqla’ Kjass!, Elisa, Sabrina, Roża, Lara, Laura, Ele, Camilla, as well as many others among us and out there whose names we do not know, take the narrative of their lives into their own hands. They have the power, they are aware of it, and they use it.”

Elisa, Sabrina, Roża, Lara, Laura, Ele, Camilla are our protagonists, girls and women who could have been us, or our daughters, or our friends’ children. Women who, in 10 stories of challenge, have experienced episodes of gender-based violence and have decided to stand up, raise their voices, and make noise.

This comic is primarily aimed at a teenage audience, who are just discovering a world where this violence is not a thing of the past but are also those who are saying enough, these stories should not continue to occur.

In the words of Clare Azzopardi, who translated this book: “In these stories, I got to know young characters who have experienced sexual violence, bullying, anxieties, psychological manipulation, and many other experiences. And precisely for this reason, it was not always easy to translate them, because I almost started telling myself that if I didn’t write them, they wouldn’t happen, and if they don’t happen, the protagonists wouldn’t have to go through this…”

Aqla’ Kjass! is available for from all bookstores, as well as online from merlinpublishers.com.

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