U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
In Iran 16-year old Atefah Schaaleh was hung by the neck from a crane in full view of the public. The charge was immorality. An older man forced sex on her. It was Atefah who was blamed and bore the punishment of his crime.
In India Shrin Juwaley’s husband threw acid in her face, disfiguring her for life. The reason – she wanted to leave him. It was an arranged marriage turned abusive. Shirin married him to please her family.
Soraya M. was stoned to death in Iran when her husband filed false charges of adultery against her. Her young son was forced to participate in the stoning.
The Taliban in Pakistan shot Malala Yousatzai as she sat on her school bus. Her crime, according to the Taliban, was her wish to get an education. This same Taliban in Pakistan invaded another school in Peshawar killing over 140 including teachers – 133 of those murdered were young schoolchildren shot in the head one after another at close range.
In Africa the unspeakable practice of female circumcision in infants and young girls continues to this day – performed by those with no medical knowledge. No anesthetic. No choice in the matter.
For some the violence of these crimes is not the end of their suffering. In many parts of the world women have been raped are considered to have brought “dishonor” or “disgrace” to their families. Consequently, victims of rape face additional violence including Honor Killings from their own families and relatives.
In Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia and Afghanistan those who escape with their lives are often shunned by the families and forced into a life of poverty and decline – begging on the streets.
Cultural violence is a harsh reality for innocent women and young girls around the world.
What can be done when acts of violence are committed in the name of cultural? What can be done when governments allow these crimes against humanity to go unpunished? What signal does that send future perpetrator’s or those who are abused?
The answer is not a simple one. The first step, however, is clear. We must give a voice to the stories of these girls and women.
The purpose of this documentary film is to expose these practices and, in so doing, create a global dialog that will hopefully lead to enlightenment and change.
While the content is undeniably uncomfortable, we cannot allow ourselves to turn away. Not with the stakes being what they presently are.
Thankfully most of us will never have to deal with the issues highlighted and discussed in this film. However, we do have an opportunity and responsibility to defend our sisters who have no way of defending themselves or having their voices heard.
As Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said…”Nowhere in the world is a woman safe from violence. The strengthening of global commitment to counteract this plague is a movement whose time has come.”
This is an obstacle that can be overcome and for the sake of these women and young girls we must find a way. To remain silent in the face of evil is to be complicit to that evil. invite you to join us in our quest to enlighten and educate. Be part of bringing about real change on a global level.
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