When their heads are being shaved, they begin to cry, because what comes next would be the excruciatingly painful mutilation of their clitoris. The tradition in the Maasai tribe in Kenya is such that when girl children enter their pre-puberty age, as early as nine years old, they are being married off in exchange for money and cattle.
Female genital mutilation is done on the rationale (errr, irrational selfishness) for the girls to not ever feel sexual arousal or reduce their libido. Explicitly, it tells us how women and young girls are treated as properties and thus have no control over their bodies.
This is going on to this day, perhaps the worse form of girl child abuse in modern times. Most girls cry in silence and obey their fathers to marry, others die of profuse bleeding and infection, and others refuse to accept their fate and run away from their tradition.
Captured in film entitled Escape, the 20-minute documentary was gripping as it bleeds your heart in sympathy for the helpless young children of Maasai. The glimmer of hope is such that there is a kind-hearted institution that shelters the children when they decide to escape, and when some of them really have the guts to cry for help and escape.
Written, produced and directed by Marvi Lacar, Escape was among the featured films at the New York Los Angeles International Film Festival last May 5 at the Producer’s Club in Mid-Manhattan. The NYLA cited the film of this Brooklyn-based Filipina filmmaker with the Award of Excellence for this year’s festival which featured 27 movies and documentaries.
Escape has indeed captured how crude and cruel the girl children have been treated. The United Nations and some private individuals have supported the girl children by providing them shelter and education.
FGM is widely practiced in many parts of Africa, the Middle East and Australasia.
For the girls who were brave enough to stand up against what has been predestined for them, there is hope. Their spirit triumphs over their misery. At the Tasaru shelter where they temporarily seek refuge, the film shows how they begin to laugh and dance and play and weave dreams of becoming a teacher or doctor someday when their wounds heal.
What an awesome inspiration they truly are!
At the film credits, Marvi writes a dedication. The film is for her two sons, who are both toddlers, so that they may grow up respecting girls and women.
OSM! is hats off for Marvi. And so with the other women featured today, Miss Ninotchka Rosca, writer par excellence, and Joy Camomot-Luna, top woman of the hospital she co-founded in Rizal province in the Philippines.
Humanity may be crazed or lost, but we never tire to write and highlight the triumph of the human spirit. OSM! believes that is what we really are made of.
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