NOT TODAY Movie: Child Trafficking in India

NOT TODAY opens in theatres today. It is a movie about child trafficking and exploitation.  One of its many awards includes “Best Justice Film” from the 2013 Justice Film Festival. As many are now aware, “human trafficking” is the new terminology for modern-day slavery. In any form, slavery condones the buying and selling of human beings. This is a film about India, but it’s also a film about humanity everywhere.

With the financial freedom to travel abroad, the young Caden Welles takes off for an adventure with his friends to Hyderabad, India. What he finds there is not a dream vacation, but a nightmare. Like so many of us who are exposed to the realities of human degradation through culturally embedded caste systems, sexual exploitation, forced labor, and/or child trafficking, he is forever haunted, forever changed.

NOT TODAY is a contemporary coming-of-age story, and through this journey, viewers are afforded terrifying, yet all-too-common examples of modern-day slavery, lined with lessons in courage, understanding, and faith, all wrapped in a rich cinematographic masterpiece.” Dr. Ana Steele, President Dalit Freedom Network USA

Watch the Trailer of NOT TODAY the Movie  

Executive Director, Matthew Cork says, “Dalits are not considered human. They get no education. They are used and abused and have no recourse or avenues toward justice. There is no protection from law enforcement; no access to the courts; no political voice, no hope of upward mobility.”

I know we live in a frenetic fast-paced world that thrives on sound bites and is always pushing toward the next thing, but if you would, re-read that last paragraph. Imagine it was referring to you, or the people you love. 

Cork is asked: “Can one movie change everything in India?” “No. But what if that one movie could open the eyes of millions and challenge them to join in this meaningful fight? There is a longing in the human heart for freedom. It is a universal longing.”

All of NOT TODAY’s partners are currently working to bring awareness, justice, and freedom to enslaved people around the globe.  Partners include A21 Campaign, International Justice Mission, Abolition International, and more. 

My challenge to you: Let’s work together, through the power of one, to begin to change each “no” into a “yes”. Yes, we believe in justice, equal justice for all of humanity. That includes fair laws, access to the courts, and legal protection for every person. Yes, we believe in education, the hope of upward mobility, and freedom from abuse for all. Yes, we believe girls have a right to live, receive education, and to prosper. Yes, we believe in a future hope that is good, the right to our voice, and freedom for all human beings, period.

As the movie byline reads: “None of us are free if one of us is enslaved.”

You may also be interested in:

Dalit Freedom Network: Touching the Untouchable Women of India

Untouchable — National Geographic Magazine  

Visit the website of NOT TODAY: The Movie or Follow on Twitter @NotTodayMovie.

How a Movie Ticket Can Help Save a Child From Slavery by Actor John Schneider

The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India. Want to bring Not Today to YOUR City? Bring It!

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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The Price of Sex: A Trafficking Film by Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova

 

The Price of Sex: an Investigation of Sex Trafficking is a feature-length documentary by Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into the dark world of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. 

 “I wish I’d never been born. I’d be better off dead than living like this.“ –Victim of Sex-Trafficking

The producer points out, “Sixty-four years after the UN General Assembly signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we continue to witness the sale of human beings and the degradation of women’s bodies and minds.”

“It’s pure evil.  Plain and simple.” –Victim of Sex-Trafficking

Visit www.priceofsex.org or click here to VIEW THE TRAILER

When Mimi Chakarova was asked in an interview by Stacey Harrison of Channel Guide Magazine what she’d learned about human trafficking during the making of this film, she responded, “I’ve worked and thought about sex trafficking for nearly 10 years now. It has changed the way I perceive not only individuals but governments and justice systems.” Read More: Filmmaker Mimi Chakarova bravely explores “The Price of Sex” in new documentary.

“Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova has sought and recorded the stories of Eastern European women who disappeared into the modern-day slave trade of sex trafficking with “The Price of Sex”—a searing new film that opens up this hidden world.” –NPR, Talk of the Nation

Screenings are available in association with the Center for Investigative Reporting.  You can purchase the 73-minute DVD The Price of Sex  from Women Make Movies, an organization that offers films by and about women.  Learn other ways you can get involved and share information about this film. Or, join the conversation on Facebook.

In a recent article, “Ten Years Underground: A Photojournalist’s Quest to Expose the Sex Trade,” by Misty Ericson (Her Circle Magazine), Mimi says, “I feel like I’m lucky not to be in this position. The only thing I can do is tell the story well. This is my gift to these girls.”

What is your gift?  How can you help raise awareness and support justice for victims of sex trafficking?

Twitter: @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
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Not My Life: A Documentary about Modern-Day Slavery

Director Robert Bilheimer says, “Not My Life probes the dark, hidden, and often unspeakable realities of human trafficking and modern-day slavery– multi-billion dollar global industries that earn their profits, as the film’s narration says: on the backs and in the beds of our planet’s youth.” 

It is impossible to spend four years among the victims and survivors of these crimes– virtually all of them children— and emerge with anything other than a sense of sheer and utter horror. What kind of civilization cannibalizes its own children?  How have we arrived at the levels of cruelty that modern slavery represents?  How can these crimes go unpunished?”

A film about slavery in our time. A story about the way the world is.

Not My Life is the first documentary film to depict the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale.

Filmed on five continents over a period of four years, Not My Life unflinchingly, but with enormous dignity and compassion, depicts the unspeakable practices of a multi-billion dollar global industry.

While acknowledging that trafficking and slavery are universal crimes, affecting millions of human beings all over the world, Not My Life zeroes in on the fact that the vast majority of trafficking and slavery victims are indeed children.

Not My Life features dignified and inspiring testimony from survivors; depictions of trafficking, exploitation, and slavery in all parts of the world including forced labor in Africa; street begging and garbage picking in India; sexual trafficking in the United States and Southeast Asia; and various forms of child enslavement and abuse in both North and South America.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Seeing is Believing: 10 Human Trafficking Films that will Open Your Eyes

 

Inaction is the greatest threat to bringing Human Trafficking to an end. 

TWENTY SEVEN MILLION

With over 27 million people held against their will and forced into modern-day slavery through debt bondage, forced labor or sexual exploitation, it’s easy for individual would-be advocates to become overwhelmed. It’s hard to think or know what direction to go with information that daunting.  We can become frozen and inactive. But seeing is believing.  If we are able to see it up close and personal (versus just hearing or reading about it) our reaction to that reality slaps us in the face. That dose of visual and emotional reality can help to shoehorn us out of our numbness to the issue–from inaction.  In other words, it may be a massive issue, but once we’ve seen with our own eyes, we can’t possibly do nothing!

WHO ARE THEY?

Who are the children snatched from the innocence of life as they once knew it? Who are the girls (and boys) sold by their own families to pay off debts? Who are the teenagers who fled from horrific home lives looking for something better only to walk into unimaginable and even deeper hearbreak and deceipt on the streets?  Who are the women who long for love, but find manipulation preying at the door of their hearts?  Women and girls who, like us, used to have dreams and hopes for a better tomorrow, but instead found themselves trapped and living (or dying) as modern-day slaves for the lust and greed of evil men.

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Twenty seven million is a big number–a huge number. But that number is made up of individuals–daughters (and sons), sisters and friends. If we can break through the barrier of the intimidating numbers and statistics and begin to see each statistic as a real person, we have a chance to succeed in bringing–no–demanding, justice.  Suddenly we’ve humanized the issue, the numbers. We can begin to help restore, redeem and reconcile one life, one family, one destiny at a time. But first, we have to see them

Here are 10 Human Trafficking Films that will Open your Eyes, and hope to change the lives of people held captive around the world (click on the titles for more information or to purchase):

  1. Nefarious: Merchant of Souls
  2. At the End of Slavery: The Battle for Justice in Our Time
  3. Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma
  4. Illicit: The Dark Trade
  5. Taken
  6. A Dance for Bethany
  7. Human Trafficking
  8. Not My Life
  9. Trade
  10. Bought & Sold: An Investigative Documentary on the International Trade of Women

An easy and powerful way to create awareness and become a part of the solution is to host a film showing or party. Gather a group of your favorite people (and it doesn’t have to be just women) and simply watch, listen, pray and discuss together. Reading statistics is one thing, but seeing will leave a much greater impression. Suddenly we see these women and children with names and faces. We hear their stories in their own voices and it somehow humanizes the issue. That’s what gives them hope–that finally, someone sees them! 

This is only a partial list of films on the issues surrounding human trafficking. It is meant to at least begin to unfold the reality of modern-day slavery and invite us to to take action.  Seeing is believing, and when we start to feel something about what we’ve seen, that is the first step toward getting involved and making a difference. 

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Nefarious, Merchant of Souls: An Interview with Director Benjamin Nolot

 

Benjamin Nolot has traveled to 19 countries on four continents to capture the plight of the exploited and uncover the hypocrisy and complicity of cultures around the world that foster the sex trade industry and fuel sex trafficking–as well as offer an unexpected hope for comprehensive change. 

Nefarious is a controversial documentary that exposes the undercurrent of injustice beneath the surface of the commercial sex trade.   Millions of women and children around the world are being drawn into a vile industry that sanctions slavery, and feeds the burgeoning demand for illicit sex.

How did you first become aware of the Global Sex Slavery epidemic?

On February 3, 2007, my wife and I met with a friend who unfolded the human trafficking scenario to us.  As she described the horrors of young girls who were forced into lifestyles of prostitution, we were shocked by the gruesome details.  In the following days and weeks, I could not escape the overwhelming conviction that I must take a stand against this injustice.  The more I uncovered tragic, monstrous stories of such injustice, the greater my burden for the issue became.  I am deeply passionate about seeing others, like myself, moved from oblivion into action.

How was Nefarious, Merchant of Souls conceived?

In the fall of 2007, a team of Exodus Cry took a trip to Southeast Asia to explore the world of sex slavery.  We visited dingy karaoke bars, remote villages, massage parlors, and high-end beach destinations finding one steady consistency–the exploitation of young women.  Throughout our trip, we had cameras documenting the sights we saw and interviews we conducted.  It was this trip that stirred us to produce the Nefarious films.

Where was Nefarious filmed?

We have been to 19 different countries to gather content for Nefarious, spanning from North and Central America to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

During the filming of Nefarious, were there any stories that stood out as particularly poignant?

Each and every girl’s story is valuable, as real lives were ruined–and often taken–by the lust and greed of wicked men.  there is, however, one story that I will mention, as it seems to illustrate the deep effect trafficking can have on a person. In 2009, I spent several hours talking to a former victim of sex trafficking at a coffee shop in Amsterdam.  The details of her story were so horrific that they seemed unbelievable, except that she bore the authentic scars from her experiences in her eyes.  As she reached the climax of her story–at a loss for words with tears welled in her eyes, she offred a raw synopsis of her time in prostitution.  “I could not love,” she said, revealing immense, unthinkable pain. It was as if her humanity had been stolen from her–robbed and left as a hollow shell.  Stories like these stand out to our team in a significant, life-changing way.

Have there been any positive developments related to the sex slavery industry since you began working on Nefarious?

YES–Thank God!  Significant strides have been made in the way of awareness and coverage.  Also, legislative changes have been made in many of the countries where we filmed.

What was your most shocking discovery about sex slavery while filming and producing Nefarious?

Before we began this project, I believe my attitude toward the abolition of trafficking was far too idealistic.  But, as we began to travel, I was faced with the reality of entire cultures–religious, social, and governmental–feeding the sex slave industry.  Seeing the trafficking problem from this vantage point was extremely difficult.

What does it mean to you, both personally and professionally, to have the opportunity to work on a project like Nefarious?

Professionally, Nefarious is nothing to me.  I have no time to ‘professionally’ solve sex slavery.  This is all personal and deeply meaningful to me.  I approach this issue with a desire for justice, not credential or fame.

Hear interviews with real sex slave victims and human traffickers, along with expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders. From initial recruitment to victim liberation–and everything in between–the previously veiled underworld of sex slavery is uncovered in the groundbreaking, tell-all Nefarious, Merchant of Souls.

Benjamin Nolot is the Founder and President of Exodus Cry, a human trafficking abolition organization.  He devotes his time to abolition work for the ending of slavery and the exploitation of the vulnerable. His greatest passion in life is to love God and see women and children set free from the tyranny of oppression.

 

Read also: Nefarious, Merchant of Souls: A Documentary on the Global Sex Trade

Learn More at nefariousdocumentary.com and Tell a Friend.

Get the word out on Twitter @NefariousMovie and join other abolitionists on Facebook, or Host a Screening!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women

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Nefarious, Merchant of Souls: A Documentary on the Global Sex Trade

Nefarious is a controversial documentary that exposes the undercurrent of injustice beneath the surface of the commercial sex trade.   Millions of women and children around the world are being drawn into a vile industry that sanctions slavery, and feeds the burgeoning demand for illicit sex.  

“These women and children are dehumanized and exploited and the mainstream culture remains complicit in their demise.”

dehumanized = deprived of human qualities or attributes; divest of individuality

exploited = used selfishly for one’s own end, especially for profit 

complicit = choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act

demise = death

While working in the anti-trafficking field, Benjamin Nolot, Writer, Producer and Director of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, says he is confronted with stories of execrable sexual abuse almost daily. In his discovery process he’s learned that the oppression of women and children takes on many forms: emotional and/or psychological manipulation, physical bondage, verbal abuse, sexual exploitation and worse– enslavement.

This statement is at the core of his passion and a definitive driving factor:

“Considering all the disturbing elements of these cases, one of the most prevalent is the absence of an advocate. Time after time no one was willing to stand up against the exploitation of a little girl or boy” –Benjamin Nolot

Benjamin has traveled to 19 countries on four continents to capture the plight of the exploited and uncover the hypocrisy and complicity of cultures around the world that foster this industry–as well as offer an unexpected hope for comprehensive change. He has devoted his time to abolition work for the ending of slavery and the exploitation of the vulnerable.  This abolitionist’s greatest passion in life?  To love God and see women and children freed from the tyranny of oppression.

Did You Know?

  • Another person is bought or sold every 8 seconds and every 30 seconds that victim is a child
  • 70% of female victims who are trafficked are for the purpose of the commericial sex trade
  • Over 27 million people are enslaved around the world
  • Regardless of nationality, victims are systematically stripped of their identies, battered into submission and made to perform sexual acts on up to 30 strangers every night
  • Human Trafficking is a 32 billion dollar per year industry

Hear interviews with real sex slave victims and human traffickers, along with expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders.

From initial recruitment to victim liberation–and everything in between–the previously veiled underworld of sex slavery is uncovered in the groundbreaking, tell-all Nefarious, Merchant of Souls.

Benjamin Nolot

Benjamin Nolot is the Founder and President of Exodus Cry and Producer/Writer/Director of the Nefarious documentary trilogy.   Exodus Cry is an international anti-trafficking organization committed to abolishing modern-day slavery and assisting the victims of human trafficking through rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration into society.   Nefarious is a series of three documentaries that expose the undercurrent of injustice beneath the global sex trade.

Learn More at nefariousdocumentary.com and Tell a Friend.

Read also: Nefarious, Merchant of Souls: An Interview with Director Benjamin Nolot

Get the word out on Twitter @NefariousMovie and join other abolitionists on Facebook, or Host a Screening!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Hope & Justice: Women in Africa by Silent Images

Photo courtesy of Silent Images

Who risks being raped every 26 seconds?  Who walks up to eight hours a day just to find water?  Who does back-breaking labor for the profit of others but is never allowed to participate in ownership?

W O M E N

More precicely, Women in Africa.

I want to introduce you to Silent Images, a non-profit organization that tells stories of hope in the midst of persecution, poverty and/or oppression through journalistic photography, videography, and writing. 

In their film short, Facts about Women in Africa, the following statistics, photographs and music intertwine to tell a story we might never have otherwise heard.  They draw our attention, raise awareness, educate, inspire and then give back to the women and communities they document.  

  • Sixty percent of Ethiopian Women are subjected to sexual violence
  • Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are Women
  • Women now account for 75% of all people living with AIDS in Africa
  • Women provide 70% of agricultural labor, but only 1% own the land they farm in Kenya
  • A Woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa
  • One in 23 Women in Africa die during childbirth, compared to one in 4,000 in North America
  • Seventy-two percent of African Girls never enter High School, and 96% don’t attend college or university
  • Thirty percent of Women in Egypt walk over one hour a day to meet water needs
  • Women spend eight hours a day collecting water in some parts of Africa

WATCH THE SHORT FILM: “Facts about Women in Africa” (2009)

David Johnson, Founder & President of Silent Images

Founder and President, David Johnson, specializes in documentary photography. Through his passion to document persecuted and oppressed women and people around the world, he raises awareness and money for the indigenous people. The stories and photographs by Silent Images are provided to non-profit organizations in an effort to educate and be a voice for the voiceless around the world.  His trademark?  To always find the hope in the midst of the injustice.

You may also be interested in David Johnson’s book: “Voice of Beauty: a photographic celebration of African Women

Contact David Johnson or visit the Silent Images Website, and tell a friend!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Women, War & Peace’s: “Peace Unveiled” Explores Justice for Afghan Women

Women, War & Peace: “Peace Unveiled”

What do a parliamentarian who participated in writing the Constitution of Afghanistan that guarantees equal rights for women, a young Afghan woman from Kabul, and a former midwife have in common?

A quest for Peace and Justice.

Can you imagine living in a place where women and girls still have to fight just to get an education, religious equality and the opportunity to earn money? A place where mobile phones, video cameras and music, apart from sanctioned radio stations, are banned? Where even today, many women are not allowed to drive or even show their face in public? A place where fear and darkness hover over your every thought and movement and it seems there is no chance of hope for your future?

The HRC (Human Rights Watch) reports that women are often subjected to threats, intimidation and violence in Taliban-controlled areas. And although it is against the law, some still impose the “brutal customary punishments such as baad, where women and girls are given as compensation for crimes”.  Read the full article: “Afghanistan: Stop Women Being Given as Compensation”.

Women, War and Peace’s: Peace Unveiled documents the struggles and efforts that these three women walked through as they united around a common cause–to secure peace and justice for themselves and future generations.  It is the third installment in the documentary special: Women, War & Peace, a mini-series that highlights the powerful role of women in conflict zones around the globe.

The clashing of their fear that the demands of Taliban rule would eradicate the forward movement of women in Afghanistan with an overwhelming desire to see their dreams of a peaceful and prosperous future for them and their children spurred them to action.

In Peace Unveiled, we follow these three courageous women who “maneuver against formidable odds to have their voices heard in a peace jirga and high peace council.”  The film takes you behind Kabul’s closed doors as their case is made to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

In 2006, Safia Ahmed-jan, a provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs was gunned down outside her home in apparent retribution for her efforts to help educate women and girls, according to officials.

In 2011, a woman and her daughter were stoned and shot to death in an area between Kabul and Kandahar by a group of armed men who targeted them for moral retribution, according to security sources. 

It is important to celebrate forward movement, but it is equally important to understand what remains the same.

The United States and NATO repeatedly report that reconciliation talks with the Taliban must contain guarantees that women’s rights will be protected–a clear moral and human rights shift–but it still remains to be seen where the value will eventually be placed and whose voice will be heard in the end.  

So where do we go from here?

Does hope elude the future of Afghan women and girls? Is there still a chance for peace? We hold out hope, yes!  And we will always remain grateful for those who have risked so much to help secure freedom and liberty in this volatile region of the world. But we must continue to pray and take action to help bring about lasting peace and freedom for the women and people of Afghanistan.

Read the Report by Human Rights Watch: “Afghan Women and the Risks of Reintegration and Reconciliation”

Watch the Trailer: Peace Unveiled

Buy the DVD (includes all segments in the Series)

Visit the Website for Women, War & Peace

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women– “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Women, War & Peace: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

 

“If you’re hungry, keep walking. If you are thirsty, keep walking. If you want a taste of freedom, keep walking” -Leymah Gbowee

 

As the sun rises in your part of the world, are you faced with the gripping fear of rape, routine bombings and a total disregard for humanity?  That was exactly the case for the women and people of Liberia before the bloody war ended in 2003.

Prior to that time, with more than 200 thousand people dead, the civil war between the corrupt dictator Charles Taylor and ruthless warlords raged, terrorizing women and children who were caught in the middle.

Routine rape, beheadings, child soldiers forced to brutalize their own families, government corruption and demonized warlords… hope was illusive at best.

“Death, at one point, was better than life”

Enter: Leymah Gbowee.  An ordinary woman with no formal training for what lie ahead, no delegated authority or right to represent others, no aspirations to lead a movement, or even the confidence in herself  to make any difference.  And yet, her Destiny was calling…

“I had a dream. And it was like a crazy dream, that someone was actually telling me to get the women of the church together to pray for peace.”

Leymah was a war victim. She felt there was no hope and no future for her.  There were too many stories, too many realities.  But then something changed.  She came across some women who she identified with. They too were victims of war. She knew their stories–they’d been to hell and back. And yet, they had smiles on their faces, they spoke of bright futures and living their dreams. That encounter coupled with her dream changed her perspective about what was possible.

“You need to stop acting like a victim and get up and do something, not just for you but for those women”

Pray the Devil Back to Hell spotlights the power of prayer, strength in sisterhood and a little group of “ordinary” women’s passionate fight for survival. 

As she reflected on the dream she said the women didn’t want to do it alone, so they called the other Christian churches to gather and said, “Let’s put our voices together”.  And that they did!  Out of that humble band of ordinary and courageous women, the Christian Women’s Peace Initiative was born. And out of that, a larger group of interfaith women was initiated.

Leymah Gbowee, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with her sister peace advocates, stood strong in the face of fear and intimidation.  Her tenacious efforts for peace, fueled and sustained by prayer and faith, ultimately catipulted her into a position of favor and landed her at the Presidential Mansion. 

The eventual outcome of that visit?  One woman’s courage changed the course of history, helped end a brutal war and ushered in the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female head of state and President of Liberia.  

“I want to here now gratefully acknowledge the powerful voice of women from all walks of life whose votes brought us the victory. They defended me, they worked with me, they prayed for me. It is the women who labored and advocated for peace throughout our region”  -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Their story is captured in Producer Abigail Disney’s documentary: Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

She listened to that voice. That voice that spoke to her of not only her future, but the future of her children and the other women caught in that living hell. It was a voice that spoke of hope and deliverance. She and her sisters took an unprecedented step of faith–a risk that could have cost them their very lives–they simply took the hand of God and watched as He delivered them into freedom.

Destiny called and she responded.  Leymah Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize which in part states: “for (her) their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

A sign in Liberia reads: “The women of Liberia say peace is our goal. Peace is what matters. Peace is what we need”.  Through the power of the women’s prayers and their tenacity to unite for a future filled with promise and hope for their children, Peace came.

Watch the Trailer

Purchase the DVD: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Women, War & Peace  Documentary Series 

You might also be interested in the Book: “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer & Sex Changed a Nation at War“, by Leymah Gbowee

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Women, War & Peace: The Powerful Role of Women in Conflict

 

When we hear reports about women in war zones who have endured unspeakable pain and despicable atrocities that have made it through to the other side, we wonder in our own feebleness and utter impotence, how? 

How is it possible to cope, much less to survive?  If not crushed by the sheer physical pain, what about breaking under the mental terror and brutal assault on the human psyche?  And even if they do somehow manage to survive, what do they find waiting for them on the other side?

WOMEN, WAR & PEACE

Women, War & Peace is a five-part PBS television series documenting the incredible and insightful stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and Colombia to Liberia. Designed in part, to advance international accountability in regard to women and security.

While devastating, revealing, instructional and inspiring, viewers are challenged to reconsider conventional wisdom as well as traditional perceptions and the role(s) of women as they relate to war and peace.

“To borrow a phrase from Hague prosecutor Peggy Kuo, it’s our hope with this series to ‘shine a spotlight on women’s experience in war’ so the full picture can be seen” -from the Executive Producers of Women, War & Peace

You will consider the complex issues and unique position and influence of women in war as this documentary series challenges the issues of women’s and human rights violations, conflict resolution and  international social justice issues.

EVIL CAMPED AT THE DOORSTEP

The news reports that many of these women have lost their families, homes and reputations. Even the word “lost” seems wrong. Of course we understand what it means. But in reality, they didn’t lose them. Their sons and daughters were torn from them screaming. They were raped, many of them, multiple times by multiple people—some using objects. Their mothers, sisters and friends were stripped of all dignity, violated by evil men who sexually used and abused them and then mutilated their female parts and left them to die. Their husbands, brothers and fathers were demasculated, tortured and then murdered.

More than simply losing their families, homes, livelihoods and reputations, they were taken from them–forcibly, brutally and without remorse.

THE OTHER SIDE OF HELL

So, when we talk about the women who have made it to the other side of hell, so to speak, What even awaits them there? 

In many cases, their families no longer exist because they have been obliterated from the planet. No longer will they laugh together, eat together, love together, dream dreams or live life together.  Their homes and villages have been destroyed. Their livelihoods have been stolen. Their bodies and spirits have been weighted down with sorrow and grief beyond our imagination.  And yet…

Death is powerful, but as it has proven time and again, LIFE is even more powerful than death.

Hope reigns supreme, even in the midst of the darkest night any soul should ever have to endure. Like a tiny flower beginning to unfurl beneath the crushing heft of the snow. As if to say, “I am alive!” “I will not go out this way!” “I am a survivor, a contender for life!”  Their God-given destinies cry out.  And with hope, there always awaits a future.

FUTURE & HOPE

The human spirit is designed to fight, live and to realize it’s unique destiny.  The resilience of the women who have walked through the fires and lived to tell the story, testifies to the power of life within all of us.

For those brave, courageous, beautiful women who have made it across that chilling chasm where they themselves once dangled between life and death—for the ones who are able to smile, laugh, sing, and even embrace hope again, in the face of it all—you are not the weak ones, you are the strong ones.  You are not the defeated, you are the victorious.  You are not the conquered, you are the conquerors!

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© By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
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