“Men couldn’t hear the girl’s screams,” states Bassi Boiro, the elderly woman responsible for mutilating generations of young girls in Sare Harouna, Senegal. Describing the procedure performed under cover of darkness outside the boundaries of her West African village, Boiro explains that men “are not part of this.” Assisted by four women tasked with holding down the arms and legs of each frightened victim, Boiro used a knife passed down through her family and later razor blades to carry out the ancient cultural tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM). One such victim of this practice is Aissatou Kande, one of the estimated 140 million women and girls around the world living with the painful consequences of FGM. Africa is currently home to over two-thirds of the world’s victims of FGM, a custom which is also practiced in the Middle East and Asia and is increasing in Europe and North America as immigrants bring the tradition into their new homelands.
In a country where 47% of girls are forced into marriage before the age of eighteen, Savita Singh represents a new generation of Indian girls who are daring to dream of educational opportunities and even career pursuits before entering the responsibilities of wedlock.
Savita’s story, as shared on Too Young to Wed by Jennifer Abrahamson, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at ICRW, is a beautiful example of a new generation of girls in India who could help turn the tide on early marriage.
Despite being illegal, the centuries-old practice of child marriage still persists today in India where 40% of the world’s 60 million child brides reside. These young girls typically have little opportunity for education and have no choice as to whom they will marry or when. Once married, a child bride is restricted to laborious household and childcare duties and is very often subjected to violence and abuse from her husband and his family.
Today is a big day for me!
I never dreamed when I set out to make a feature length documentary in October of 2008 that the journey would be so difficult or so fulfilling. The landmarks along the way have become a permanent part of me; the first trip to India and filming the village woman who took the lives of her eight newborn daughters in her quest for a son; working along side amazing and talented people without whom It’s a Girl would never had been completed; the amazing response to the film and all of the unforgettable people and places I have experienced throughout the action and screening campaign.
It has truly been a privilege and I am grateful for every memory and for the significant impact we have been able to have together on behalf of millions of women throughout the world.
Today is a big day because it represents another big landmark along my journey. Today I launch my next film, carrying on in the spirit of It’s a Girl and continuing the battle for dignity and value for women all over the world.
I know I could not have accomplished all that It’s a Girl achieved without the dedication and action of each of you, and I know I will not be able to achieve this next challenge without your partnership. I invite you to continue on this journey with me, and together, tell the ongoing story of those who are suffering violence in silence around the world today.
It’s a Girl now available on iTunes and DVD!
It’s a Girl is now available on iTunes and DVD. Click here to find out how to order!
I was recently humbled and honored to learn that my TEDxGateway talk was featured in a blogging drive hosted by Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the key sponsors of TEDxGateway. Over 400 Indian bloggers participated in this online event, writing about various topics featured in the talks at TEDxGateway.
Dozens of posts were entered by bloggers who took on the issue of gendercide after watching my talk. I have read most of them, and have spent a significant amount of time processing through all I have learned from the amazing insights provided by these thoughtful and intelligent bloggers.
As we celebrate the upcoming release of the It’s a Girl DVD, here is a sneak peek at one of the special features. This video features Charles Denler, the EmmyAward-winning composer who created the amazing score for It’s a Girl. I first met Charles at a conference in Denver and we quickly became friends. When we were looking for someone to compose the music for It’s a Girl, I reached out to Charles and he was able to take on our project, despite a busy schedule working on music for motion pictures, television documentaries and theme songs for National Geographic, Animal Planet, The History Channel, Honda, Coca Cola, Oprah, Dateline, PBS, NBC, NASA and more.
Working with Charles was an amazing process. Watching him immerse himself in the stories and, out of that experience, come up with haunting and compelling themes using flutes indigenous to the regions of the world capture in the film– the experience was something I will never forget!
We put together a short video of Charles talking about the process he goes through when writing music for a documentary film. Take a look, then go to Charles Denler’s website to hear more of his amazing music, including Portraits of Colorado, his new symphony recently recorded by The Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and now available on CD.
It’s a Girl is coming out on iTunes and DVD!
It’s a Girl will soon be available on iTunes and DVD! On September 24th, coinciding with the anniversary of China’s One Child Policy on September 25, It’s a Girl will be released on iTunes and consumer DVD. By making It’s a Girl available on the anniversary of China’s brutal policy, we hope to further fuel a movement to see the policy and the related impacts of gendercide come to an end!
Pre-orders can be made now on the It’s a Girl website at www.itsagirlmovie.com/dvd
The DVD is packed with special features, including behind the scenes segments on the Emmy Award-winning composer, Charles Denler and the artist who created the art for the animations throughout the film, Michael Trujillo. Special features also include the It’s a Girl Music Video, More from the Experts on Gendercide, Screening Q&As with Filmmakers and Experts, It’s a Girl Action Campaign video and a feature on the Reflection Art Gallery in India.
“‘It’s a Girl’ is not just a film about heartbreaking statistics. It also brings stories of heroes and hope.”
– April Thompson
The Washington Times;
Hall High School, in Hartford, CT, has invited me out to speak at a screening of It’s a Girl
|Date:||October 23, 2013|
|Event:||Hall High School|