Liberia: Documentary to expose horrific Women's Rights abuses in the country
Filmmakers Jessica Vale and Nika Offenbac are at the tail end of a widely popular Kickstarter campaign to raise finishing funds for their feature documentary 'Small small Thing'.
'Small small Thing' follows Olivia, a young girl in Liberia who was raped at the tender age of 7. Adding to the emotional scars of such brutality, she developed a severe fistula. Believing witchcraft to be the cause of her injuries, Olivia's mother, Bendu, hides her in a jungle hut for 2 years as the fistula turns life threatening.
When Olivia is finally found, a group of US doctors determine her injuries to be caused by rape and route her colon to a colostomy bag. This revelation starts Olivia and her mother on a very difficult path to seek justice. With the misguided involvement of both the UN and President Sirleaf, Olivia's story exposes the holes in President Sirleaf's women's rights record. A record which got her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, despite rape still being the number #1 reported crime in her country, with the majority of victims being under age 12.
A letter sent to the filmmakers states:
"People from our country have had tons of experiences with rape. I personally have never talked about mine because I thought it was my fault. My little niece was also raped, and thought it was her fault too. Thanks again to you all for focusing on this topic that almost every woman in Liberia has experience and is afraid to talk about, because we feel like it is a taboo.
God led you to Liberia, and had you caught up in that hospital for a good reason. His intention was to use little Olivia to be the voice for all of us who are now adults, who have been afraid to speak up for so many years."
Vale and Offenbac, both veterans of the film industry, have self produced this documentary over the course of 3 years. With the help of Barnie Jones, a native Liberian, they are near completion.
'Small small Thing' has been featured on ABC World News Now, and continues to gain momentum. The filmmakers also have plans to take a short educational version of the film back to Liberia, to teach young women about the options available to victims of sexual abuse