I can think of little else since last night’s viewing of “Half the Sky”. And I feel like I can’t even adequately put into words how it has affected me. But I’ll try……..
I hosted a viewing party for the film, with about 20 women from all different walks of my life. Food was generously donated by Good Life Gourmet and Santa Fe restaurant. Cookies from Sara Bakes Cakes and lovely bottles of wine were brought too. We ate, drank and chatted for about an hour, and then settled in to watch the film.
You could have heard a pin drop for the entire two hours. And I can honestly say that “Half the Sky” is one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. The stories of these girls – who have been assaulted, humiliated and in many cases, abandoned by their families because of the “shame” THEY have brought through being brutally victimized – were devastating.
And the strength, dignity and resolve to survive was unbelievably inspiring, to say the least.
There is Somaly Mam – herself trafficked as a young child – who has built a haven for girls who have also been victimized. She actually goes on brothel “raids” – repeatedly risking her own life – in order to rescue enslaved girls and bring them to her center. There, they are given medical care, education and love – and are slowly rebuilt to become strong young women, who in turn dedicate their lives to helping others.
And the young girl – motherless, and living with her brutish father and younger brother – who is sent off to work selling lottery tickets, “paid” a percentage of her takings by her father if she earns enough. If she doesn’t, she is beaten. And yet she somehow finds a way to save enough to pay for tutoring, as she is determined to educate herself.
And one of the most heartbreaking stories, of a severely impoverished single father who is sacrificing everything to make sure his children receive educations. He even goes as far as to miss a day of work – and a day’s wages PLUS the expense of travel – to attend the children’s parent-teacher conferences. As he said so eloquently, “if I take one day off I might be slightly more poor. But if my children do not get educated, they will always be poor.”
It was a very difficult film to watch. But this is an enormous, global crisis that is simply not spoken about, written about, or publicized nearly enough. So if even ONE of my guests was moved to do ONE thing – then I know that it was time properly spent.
Did you watch the film? What were your thoughts? Has it affected you in any way? I’d love you to share here.
And if you missed it, you can watch it for free, through October 8th.
Part Two airs this evening – I’ll see you then.
If you, too, were wondering if you could help the individuals from the documentary – you can.