In February, we received a Cultural Award in Barcelona for Sands of Silence, and two days later we had a special screening in the city. Spain’s Secretary of Health, Social Services and Equality had read an interview with me in La Contra de La Vanguardia, (equivalent to Spain’s “Fresh Air.”) She attended one of my screenings in Barcelona at a large Women’s Library and Center. When I greeted her, I asked if she would like to make a few remarks after the film, but she told me, “Chelo, I have come here to learn.” I was humbled. Her large entourage insisted that she should leave at the Q&A, but she made a point of staying till the end and afterwards gave me a hug. I was so exhausted during the tour that I had developed a case of shingles on my face. I was reluctant to hug her for that reason, but she insisted, saying she didn’t care, and that she was so moved by the film that she wanted to use it. Now they have invited me to show the film in Spain in September for the International Day of Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.
In 2016, Spain Bar Association Foundation invited us to screen SOS in Madrid on Nov 25, International Day Against the Elimination of Violence against Women.
On July 10, 2017, along with our partner Equality Now, we had the chance to present the film as a side event at the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York. The event was presented by Spain’s Ambassador to the United Nations and co-hosted by U.N. Women and Apne Aap Women Worldwide.
On July 11, 2017, the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and the New York City Bar Association, along with our partner Equality Now, invited us to present the film. At the Q&A, among an audience of lawyers, a young student who was very moved by the film, asked how I managed to break the silence and tell my story because she was a victim of abuse and had never found the courage to speak up. Her tears gave way to a smile when I told her she had just done so.