Feedback from inmates

“I was deeply impacted by every case in the documentary, regardless the degree of violence.

I identify with Chelo’s sister, with what she went through, and how you fell confused and often keep quiet because who did it was a member of your family, or because you are not able to define what is happening to you.”

Female inmate, Barcelona prison, Spain

“Seeing your film and meeting you has made me promise myself I’ll never do it again.”

Male sexual violence offender, Catalonia prison, Spain

“I never felt so much empathy with the victims.”

Male sexual violence offender, Catalonia prison, Spain

“This film is not just for women, but for men. For men like us, who are here.”

Male sexual violence offender, Catalonia prison, Spain


At Orange County Juvenile Hall outside Los Angeles, California, we presented the film to a small group of young inmates. There were six young men and eight young women. At the debate that ensued, all the girls declared in one way or the other they had been abused. All of the boys said they found the film very much needed. One of them said, “Your film made me question my religion.” My response was, what we need to question are the abusive priests, the cover-ups by the religious leaders, including the pope. 

One young man, who was very reluctant to participate, had an interesting comment: “I watch tons of movies all the time, and I always, always identify with the bad guy. Then I start making excuses for him, and by the end of the film I end up saying, “It wasn’t that bad after all.” We later found out that three of the boys had committed sexual offenses. 

Comments by the young inmates:

“I saw myself in the film””It made me more aware.”

“I could relate – like REALLY relate.”

“I held my breath.”

“I got choked up.”

“I can see this through other peoples’ eyes.”

“It made me want to help you.”

“It made me question my religion!”

“It took heart to speak the truth.”

“They have guts to speak up.”


Communities / Libraries

Audience Feedback

«I feel blessed to see your incredibly moving “life-changing” documentary film.  This amazing film will heal and change lives.  “Sands of Silence” is a tremendous contribution to humanity.   It’s a must see film!  It needs to be seen by everyone globally!»

May Liang, artist, Bay Area


«Your film touches a very painful subject, but in essence, your film is about love.»

Young businessman, NuHive screening, Shanghai

«Violence and abuse have a best friend, a trusted accomplice: Silence. After watching Sands of Silence I can hear the waves of courage crashing loudly against the rocks of silence; a sad sound wrapped in sweet possibility of all that can be… thank you Ms. Alvarez-Stehle and fellow brave soldiers.»

Yareli Arizmendi, actress, Like Water for Chocolate

“She-he-all who in spite of fear break the silence are heroes. Chelo Alvarez-Stehle director and subject of Sands of Silence, along with the brave protagonists of this documentary are nothing short of that: heroes.»

Sergio Arau, filmmaker, A Day Without a Mexican

«I loved when you said that you consider yourself a humanist first, then a feminist.»

Hiromi, female freshman student, Hiroshima City University, Japan


«I was moved by Chelo’s invaluable work because I can feel how hard must have been for her to speak up and reveal everything she and her family went through.
This topic the film addresses needs to be share with every woman and man.»

Audience member, Cervantes Institute, Tokyo


High Schools

Students’ Feedback

Sands of Silence Documentary screening to New Roads, Santa Monica, California – high school students

“The film was informative, inspiring, heartwarming, heartbreaking, moving, emotional,and  welcoming to other survivors of sexual abuse such as myself. The film expressed kindness towards the victims where most people might put blame. I thought it showed a fascinating comparison between two different kinds of abuse cases and the film delved into the stories without putting the acts/victims against one another. It  somehow created an inviting atmosphere despite the heavy topics discussed. It was inviting enough to encourage people to share their own personal experiences.

“I really enjoyed the film. I liked how the documentary was really just like watching a story unfold. That’s something not many documentaries are able to do. It was an emotional movie that did a great job of shedding light on a topic that needs to be seen.”

“I think the topic is very intriguing and a great idea. I love how raw it is, really tells the individual how very real this issue is in our world and how it can really damage someone. I really love the title of the film because it’s something so small that tells one so much about another…where it all began in the grains of sand and the silence that carried on with her for such a long time. I think the only flaw I have of this movie is that it can be slow moving at times, but that isn’t an overall statement just an individual opinion.”

“The film was very personal and raw. The scenes including her family and childhood, especially where she confronts her former abuser in a letter, was especially intimate and moving. I’m admire Chelo for her ability to become vulnerable with her personal life in order to inspire and improve the lives of countless others, still searching for the courage to come out as a victim.”

READ our experience screening the film to a hundred 14 to 18 year-old high school students in Spain

Sands of Silence a tool to empower students