Documentary „A Thousand Girls Like Me“: The Road To Fight Incest In Afghanistan

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Author: Emili Ema Sedlar

Documentary (Trailer below) film making has always been an exceptional method of portraying the lives of people across different cultures and backgrounds, expressing sometimes the most astonishing stories and the most distressing, in order to  visually depict scenarios that many people are not even aware exist. It is true spirit of many documentary filmmakers that are passionate of human rights, hence that love is expressed when they are able to capture moments that define struggle and unjust.

Sahra Mosawi-Mani is a filmmaker from Afghanistan who this year released a film „A Thousand Girls Like Me“, a story of a young woman, Kathera who seeks justice after being raped by her father for 13 years. It is a shocking documentary where the audiences are able to witness the pain this 23-year old goes through and how she fearlessly risks her freedom and safety in order to stand up for her rights and face the horrendous past. For the first time, Mosawi-Mani was able to help Kathera make a mark in history, being one of the first women in Afghanistan who spoke out against incest and corruption in the judicial system. Both Mosawi-Mani and Kathera are proof of how taking action takes responsibility.

The film was this year presented at numerous festivals, including at the notable Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. Mosawi-Mani has spoken out for the Women’s Rights News about what it meant personally to her to make this film and how she plans to fight for Kathera’s justice.

„In the beginning, I was not sure to be able to make a film about rape and incest but when I started research about women and girls situation who are victim of rape and specially when I involve the process of justice for women in Afghan judicial system, I decided to make this film“, admitted Mosawi -Mani and added how important it was for her to portray Kathera ‘s story as the main focus, motivating Kathera to raise her own voice.

Once Mosawi- Mani met Kathera, she was fascinated with her courage and how she managed to have a wonderful relationship with her mother and daughter, who is also her sister. „First I met her to help her somehow, when she found out I am filmmaker, she asked me to make a film about her life story and I accepted even I was a bit confused about if I can find my story or not but I started filming her daily life“, illustrated Mosawi -Mani.

As a filmmaker, Mosawi- Mani shared her experience of filming Kathera’s story and how in the first few days, she couldn’t control her tears after hearing the details of her abuse. „I kept reminding myself ‘Here, you are just a filmmaker and you will not be involved in this story at all. After a while I decided to help her find a solicitor at least and introduced her to some friends around to help her with immigration“, revealed Mosawi –Mani and added an example of why she needed to support her. „It was a bad situation, she was under treated with two little sick children. She needed to look after her children as well as feed them, provide them with medicine and keep moving from one place to another because of their security. They needed to hide. In this situation, I thought I have responsibility as a human“.

Many people were speechless after they’ve seen the film and have said how both Mosawi -Mani and Kathera are their heroes since they are continually fighting for justice. „I have to say thanks to my family and my team, specially my editor Giles Gardner who did a great job.  Also thanks to my protagonist, Kathera for being smart and strong. I learn a lot from her and I feel more confidence as a filmmaker after making this film. I happy she asked me to make a film about her life story“, concluded proudly Mosawi- Mani.

Trailer of the film:

From the Author: 

Hi there lovely people! 

My name is Emili Ema Sedlar and I am a journalist from Croatia. It is such an honor to be volunteering for Women’s Rights News and bringing out new ideas about today’s issues in society. I am a college student, majoring in journalism and communications. In the past few years, I have been an activist in the fields of education, HIV, immigrants’ rights and women’s rights, focusing mostly on stories that are unique and different. I have published my journalistic works on many Croatian news sites and for over a year, I’ve been a writer for Positive Women’s Network-USA.