Kimiko Kubo is the current editor of Josei Tembo magazine and the Managing Director of the Ichikawa Fusae Center for Women and Governance.https://www.sandsofsilence.org/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wpml-translation-management%2Fmenu%2Ftranslations-queue.php&return_url=%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D32978%26action%3Dedit%26lang%3Den%26message%3D6&job_id=171
Ms. Kubo wrote this three-page feature article after viewing Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage at our Cervantes Institute screening in Tokyo in October 2018.
It is remarkable that the article made the cover of their magazine, given the scarce coverage that issues of sexual violence and trafficking have in Japan.
Recently #DirectedbyWomen had a chance to delve into conversation with reporter and documentary filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle about her moving film Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage and the impact it is having on communities around the world. She also shared the surprising direction her work is leading her to explore next. The topic of sexual abuse and trafficking is challenging. It can feel easier to simply look away, but please take time to receive what Chelo has shared and look for the chance to experience her work. Info about upcoming screenings can be found at the end of the post.
DBW: Your documentary Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage takes on such a powerful subject. It’s multifaceted in its approach, dealing with the nexus of sexual abuse and sexual trafficking. And it takes us deep into the complexities of how these forms of abuse impact not only individuals but families as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how the film is resonating with film audiences and the impact it is having.
CA-S: We’ve felt overwhelmed by the cathartic experiences audiences are having. At every screening people of all ages are going deep into their experiences, bringing past or recent memories, identifying them as abuse, calling them by their name, breaking the silence, so much so that we enlist volunteer therapists or psychologists to attend and be ready at the Q&As with their expertise and resources.
That is why we say that Sands of Silence is “the film that inspires you to break the silence on sexual violence.” Many of those people speak up for the first time.
But after touring Europe and the US with the documentary we know that it also goes beyond that. A college freshman at a university in Spain insisted on talking to me after the screening. She had gone to a physical therapist for a shoulder problem. He convinced her, by showing her information on Google, that he needed to touch a point in her vagina in order to cure her. He ended up inserting a vibrator in her vagina. “Finally something clicked for me and I left. My mother did not believe me, and when she finally did, she went to confront him, but he denied everything. Please help me. Now I have nightmares. I don’t even let my dad approach me. And I want to report him but I don’t know how.” I was able to refer her to an association of women lawyers that provides legal pro bono services to victims.
Often it is those closer to us that don’t believe us.
Our first review in French, after our Paris sneak preview on March 19th, hosted by Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, at the Luminor – Hôtel de Ville the historic movie theater in Le Marais, the heart of Paris!
Notre premier article en français, après notre avant-première à Paris le 19 mars, présenté par le Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, au Luminor Hôtel de Ville.
« Lorsque je préparais mon film, les femmes survivantes que j’ai rencontrées se battaient avec une telle énergie contre la traite des êtres humains que j’ai été poussée, à mon tour, à dévoiler ma propre vérité », raconte Chelo Alvarez-Stehle.
Dans ce documentaire qu’elle a mis 15 ans à réaliser, la cinéaste et journaliste espagnole brise le silence autour du trafic sexuel à l’échelle mondiale, mais également autour des abus subis dans sa propre famille. Un silence qui ne profite qu’aux prédateurs et aux trafiquants.
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