Friday, October 24, 2014

"War Against Women" - a Social Justice Film

This post discusses a film about sexual violence. My discussion will not be graphic, but the content may be a trigger for some people, and I want to be sensitive. Also, let's be careful to be considerate in our comments on this post. Thank you.

Last night my sisters and I went to see the film "War Against Women" {link is to trailer and description} which focused on the use of rape as a war and terrorist weapon. Filmed over three years and in ten countries, it was a hard 65 minutes to watch.

Before viewing, I was worried that the filmmakers would focus solely on the problem and not offer any hope, because let's get real: rape and sexual abuse and violence, and living in the aftereffects of it, can be really hopeless. It can feel like no one cares, or that everyone knows and sees your shame, or both simultaneously. Without Jesus, and even with Jesus, it is hard to find hope.
But the filmmakers did a beautiful job presenting the testimonies and victories of the dozen or so women they interviewed, and the presence of hope was known.

The first woman we met in the film was Leila in Bosnia. She sat on her bed and smoked and told the film crew she didn't think she could say anything, that she couldn't talk about the horror she lived for three years. But she did share. She talked about the things she experienced as a teenager, and how some girls and women didn't survive, and all I could think of was how strong she was to endure, survive, and come back home and rebuild.

The film was divided into three parts: telling the stories, bringing healing, and changing the system. The first third was probably the hardest to watch... these women have survived so much. The second third was a bit brighter; therapists and doctors shared about the healing process. This film focused on rape as a war crime, and so the last third highlighted the efforts to bring about legal justice for the perpetrators.

Although it was difficult to watch, I am glad I went. "War Against Women" showed the victories of both the women and their governments. The last clip brought us back to Leila, who put down her cigarette and said, "Now I want to tell you why I have children. I want to have children so there will be some good people in this world."

One of the most poignant parts of the film for me was when a young Ugandan woman was describing her abuse. She became pregnant and had a daughter, and she was so glad! I was stunned. This woman who survived brutal violence, who probably would not have chosen to become a mother at age 15, named her daughter "Asima" which means "God loves me." I love how her daughter's name is a proclamation to all, an act of defiance to those who abused her, and a reminder of Truth.


  1. Wow, that sounds like a powerful film. I absolutely love seeing the courage of people who overcome adversity. What amazing women to survive such an ordeal and then share their experiences!

  2. It really was a great film, albeit a solemn one. Maybe you should suggest it to your professor :) Also, I'm seeing another film on Sunday about human trafficking in India... post forthcoming, I'm sure.

  3. Oh wow. In our covering of that topic, we read stories from India which were absolutely horrifying. I hope they're able to show some hope like this film was able to!

  4. Yeah, it's amazing what people do to other people. Hopefully there is some light shining into this darkness!
    As an aside, may I recommend the book "The Locust Effect" by Gary Haugen, the founder of International Justice Mission. Intense and SO good!