It was a little difficult to watch the documentary, Half the Sky, and to hear the stories of so many innocent, young children and the hardships they have faced. Half the Sky follows the stories of many young women and children that are battling the horrifying experiences of rape, sex trafficking, and women’s education. I think the purpose of this film is to show us that there are many cruel things that are still going on in this world that many of us have not heard about it in the news or read it in the local paper. It is unfortunate to know that women in other countries are not treated as human beings, but the women in this film were strong and inspiring. This documentary reminded me just how grateful I am to be getting an education and to be living in a household with loving parents who support me in all that I do.
All of the girls’ stories that were told in this film were touching and sensitive to hear. But one particular girl that stood out to me was Semana, a young woman from Cambodia who was forced into sex trafficking at a young age. This girl changed her name to Semana after her experiences she faced, which means “forgiveness.” In the film, Semana tells her story of how she was sold to a woman at a young age, and was forced to engage with clients, who raped her and beat her. Semana’s owner actually stabbed her in the eye as punishment for refusing to participate in sexual relations with a client, causing Semana to lose her eye. As I watched this moment and heard her story, I started to cry myself. It is crazy to learn that sex trafficking, which is also slavery, is still going on in other parts of the world today. To know that young girls are bought, imprisoned, beaten, and raped is horrifying. And of course these girls are not able to defend themselves. Semana also explained that her family was ashamed of her and so she was not allowed to come back home. To hear that a child’s family will not allow her to return home, the one place she may feel safe in, is heartbreaking.
One of the speakers in the film said a sentence that really stood out to me. “When you educate a girl, you educate a village.” There are many young girls that do not have access to education. That opportunity is taken away from them without a choice. One girl in the film wanted to make more money to pay for her tutoring lessons, and her father did not really care to help her. It is unfortunate that so many children are stripped of their education. As a communications major, I think there are a few possible ways that someone in my field of study could make a positive contribution to this matter. I think the most important thing first is to make others aware. Many people do not know what is going on in these countries, such as Vietnam and Cambodia, because they have not been informed. The news channels only give information on a very small portion of events that occur in the world. If the media could change its focus and actually concentrate on the lack of education amongst children or the sex trafficking occurrences, then that would be the first step to making a positive impact. Making others aware is very important in order to implement change.
I feel that after watching this documentary there is a lot to take away. It is important to understand that people, especially women, are not given their human rights in other parts of the world. We must acknowledge that there is a problem, and then we can find ways to change it. Change does not happen overnight, but a little bit of change can go a long way.