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Tapestries of Hope-September 28, 2010

Submitted by on September 22, 2010 – 12:01 pm

Next Tuesday, the documentary film Tapestries of Hope will be screened for one night only in theaters around the country. Tapestries of Hope follows Betty Makoni, the founder of the Girl Child Network. Last year, she was recognized by CNN for her work with rape victims in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, there is a widespread myth that a man can be cured of AIDS by having sex with a virgin, and rape is prevalent among young women. To make a terrible situation worse, some of these girls contract HIV or end up pregnant with their rapist’s child. The Girl Child Network educates girls about their rights and helps them protect themselves from sexual abuse and violence. In addition, they provide monetary grants to schools, clubs, and other programs that empower young girls.

Tapestries of Hope has gotten some attention leading up to its release because of the way the film ended. In 2007, director Michealene C. Risley was in Zimbabwe filming Makoni’s work, and Risley and her production assistant were arrested and imprisoned. A government official even told Risley that she would be tortured if she did not burn her notes and documents for the film. The U.S. Embassy told Risley that she needed to get herself and her assistant out of the country or else they would most likely be raped or murdered. Out of safety concerns, she took their advice and paid off government officials to get out of Zimbabwe.

Not many documentaries get the kind of special event screening that Tapestries of Hope will get next week, and it is rare when documentaries get this kind of distribution. Theaters from coast to coast and everywhere in between are getting this film. This film has the potential to do a lot of good and spread awareness about this horrifying reality, and moviegoers who feel compelled to help can make a donation to the Girl Child Network and Risley’s nonprofit organization Freshwater Haven.

Go to http://www.tapestriesofhope.com/ to read more about the film, and go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/840/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3937 to sign a petition to Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.

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