“Holding up Half the Sky” Reaction Paper by Alexandra Holmes – Broadbeach, Australia

The documentary, Half the Sky, impacted me in ways unimaginable. I would highly suggest this documentary or book to any one of my family members or friends. I find that we live in a world full of complainers and people who believe things are never good enough for them. Even when studying abroad, in the most beautiful country, people around me are still complaining. They complain because it is too hot or too cold. They complain because the elevator takes too long. They complain because they have to walk a couple extra steps. All first world problems, in the grand scheme of life are completely irrelevant. Too all those complainers, I would suggest to watch Half the Sky and then revaluate just how “bad” your life really is. This documentary reveals true atrocities that continue to happen today, in 2017. There are still three year olds being sold into brothels. There are girls being raped and then turned away by their family because she brought shame to their family. There are mothers who are struggling to make eighty dollars to send their kids to school. These are things to be upset about, not the current petty problems that we are lucky enough to have.

The story that resonated with me the most were the girls in Sierra Leone who were constantly being raped and then forgotten about. Rape is a very important topic to me because it unfortunately affects so many girls in my life. 1 in 5 girls on a college campus will be sexually assaulted. I always thought the poor treatment of college girls in America was bad. It still is bad considering most girls will not go to the police because they are fearful. They are fearful of being ridiculed or facing their attacker again. Although this is still a huge problem that we face, the problems in Sierra Leone are even worse. The fact that there were up to 100,000-rape cases reported and only one rapist prosecuted is a huge problem. They basically tell the rapist that it is okay to rape. The fact that there are three year olds that are sexually assaulted blows my mind. Little girls are getting sexually transmitted diseases as little as four year olds but nothing seems to be getting done. A young girls uncle had raped her but yet she was shunned by her own father. The complete and total disregard of women in this culture is sickening.

The lack of health care for women who are giving birth as well as genital mutilation is something that struck a chord with me. The fact that something as easy as a cesarean section, a medical procedure that is done effortlessly in America, could be the reason why a women dies. Or how women are dying from pre-eclampsia, a condition that has a first level EMT, I know how to treat. Something that I would be interested in would be Doctors Without Borders. Unfortunately, they do not have this for Physician Assistants yet, but I would love to be the driving force to start that type of program. I would love to be able to go to countries and educate people on simple health procedures that could save someone’s life. I hope to eventually do a mission trip where I can help a village even learn how to brush their teeth. Simple things that could make all the difference in someone’s life. America Ferrara described how it is important to remember that you don’t need to change the world. She talked about how changing one life might not feel like a lot to you. But to that one person, it means the world. This stuck with me because I want to be able to make a difference. Sometimes I feel small in this world, but if I could change one life, that would be enough.


One thought on ““Holding up Half the Sky” Reaction Paper by Alexandra Holmes – Broadbeach, Australia

  1. The horrors watched in Half the Sky were truly astounding. I cannot believe that this much injustice occurs in the world, right under our noses. I simply can’t fathom it- where is their common sense? Why do the people committing these acts see it as normal and right. Isn’t there anyone along the way that thinks “hey maybe this is horrifying?” This kinda reminds me of a story one of the Nobel Laureates that visited QU told us. She said she did a sort of workshop that broke down how much of an allowance a husband gives his wife compared to what he would pay if he had hired someone to do the work. This included all the cooking, cleaning, raising children, and even sex. When they added up all the costs, most of the men said they needed to go home and apologise to their wives. Could it really be a simple pointing in the right direction that would change all of this? Part of me thinks that horrors of this magnitude couldn’t be solved so simply but we will never know unless we try.


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