Guest Blogger: Adriana Vivas
Adriana Vivas is a graduate student at the University of Central Missouri. She is pursuing a Masters in communications.
This past summer, the story of the first woman in Afghanistan to ever bring an incest case to trial, debuted at the Human Rights Film Festival. The director, Sahra Mosawi-Mani, is a documentary filmmaker who focuses on creating documentaries about her home country of Afghanistan.
An article written by editors from Cinema Without Borders highlights Sahra Mosawi-Man’s new film A Thousand Girls Like Me. The story of Khatera starts when she publicly accused her father on national television. For more than 13 years, Khatera was repeatedly raped and abused by her father which resulted in multiple pregnancies. Despite her father’s multiple attempts to abort, two of her pregnancies reached full term.
“Every woman in this country has a hundred owners. Fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors. They all believe they have the right to speak on our behalf and make decisions for us. That’s why our stories are never heard, but buried with us.” – Sahra Mani, director, A Thousand Girls Like Me
According to the article, Khatera tried many times to file charges against her Father but the Afghan legal system was no help at all. Additionally, her uncle along with the rest of their family believed the only way to absolve Khatera’s father from the embarrassment was to kill Khatera and her three-year-old daughter. In her documentary, Sahra Mosawi-Man lived with Khatera for two years and followed her on her journey through safe houses and navigating the afghan legal system.
(picture from Human Rights Film Festival)
In an interview from Aisha Azimi for Free Women Writers, Sahra Mosawi-Mani explained what message she wanted her audience to walk away with.
“I want the film to help people think about what happens to a country where for decades war has been a daily reality and corruption has seeped deep even in the level of the family and society. I also want to bring attention to a judicial system that often gives power to abusers and tell the story of the lonely lives of three women from three different generations, a grandmother, a daughter, and a granddaughter, all victimized in the hands of a man empowered by a patriarchal society.”
Often when hearing about these types of unjust situations, you may think “well how can this be helped?” Sahra Mosawi-Mani is taking this step by bringing awareness to how women are treated in the judicial system in Afghanistan and around the world.
“I know that I cannot change the judicial system only by making films but bringing this subject to public discourse is the first step. Women like Khatera want to raise their voice and I have this ability amplify it. Among my audiences are policy maker, students, future leaders, artists, decision makers, judges, lawyers, neighbors, survivors, teachers… I want everybody to start talking about how we treat women in our society and in our justice system.”
By writing this blog post, I simply want to thank Sahra Mosawi-Mani for creating this film. Women like Sahra Mosawi-Mani deserved to be widely recognized for their dedication to filmmaking and resilience to social injustice.
To view the trailer for A Thousand Girls Like Me, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mGkQqK6DBU
To read the full interview, please click the link: https://womenyoushouldknow.net/thousand-girls-like-me/
Cinema Without Borders Article: http://www.cinemawithoutborders.com/a-thousand-girls-like-me/#prettyPhoto/0/