Six Meaningful Films for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

A still image from the film Wrestling Ghosts. A young mother and her child are lying in bed in opposite directions. The mother is underneath the blanket, and the child is on top, lying on the mother. The mother holds the child's feet. A calico cat is also on the bed.

The intergenerational impact of childhood abuse is the subject of Wrestling Ghosts, Ana Joanes’ recent documentary.

In this intimate portrait, Joanes allows us to be with the main character, Kim, as she learns how the very damage that she was subjected to as a child plays out now in her relationships with her own children. Kim shares deeply personal moments and invites us into her counseling sessions to witness her journey towards healing.

Filmmaker Joanne Hershfeld delves into the global issue of violence against women in her powerful and sensitive documentary, Men are Human, Women Are Buffalo. While the stories of 5 women in the film are culturally-specific to Thailand, the commonality with experiences of other women throughout the world raises awareness of this pervasive and underground concern.

Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories, a film by Willow O’Feral, challenges social taboos and activates important conversations about sexual education, health, and human rights. Eighteen individuals share their diverse experiences to help us re-examine our beliefs and explore unexamined ones.

Peter Cohn’s documentary about domestic violence, Power and Control, gives us a first-hand look at the experience of Kim Mosher, mother of three children and a victim of physical and emotional abuse. Through Kim’s personal story, the film explores the deep causes of domestic abuse and the shocking persistence of gender violence while also highlighting certain solutions that can help victims. Peter has two additional films in the New Day collection that deal with domestic violence issues: Domestic Violence in Law Enforcement and Violence and Health Care.

In Sita, A Girl from Jambu, filmmaker Kathleen Gyllenhaal offers an empowering message to survivors of the sex trade and encourages them to share their stories and speak out for the voiceless victims. An innovative blend of documentary and street theater, the film tells the brutal story of how uneducated, rural Nepalese girls are lured into sexual slavery and explores the root causes of child exploitation.

Frances Nkara’s thought-provoking film, Downpour Resurfacing, lays out the personal experience of noted psychiatrist and mindfulness meditation teacher, Dr. Robert Hall. Speaking with honesty and clarity, Hall recounts the sense of disconnection and of leading a double life that develops from hidden childhood sexual and physical abuse and goes on to share his approach to transformative healing. Hall’s story inspires hope for viewers who struggle with these issues.

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