In a recent Huffington Post article, Soraya Chemaly said, "I'm thinking that it shouldn't take gendercide and gang rapes of children and women to motivate good men to act against pervasive injustice that all women and girls are subjected to in one degree or another." She goes on, "Women are not perpetrating widespread violence against one another or against men -- in homes or in war. And yet, whenever I go to meetings, seminars or schools to discuss this topic, I enter rooms full of women. This is immensely frustrating."
From the Aral Sea disaster in Eastern Europe to poverty in Africa to social transformation among tribal groups of South America, "It's a Girl" director Evan Grae Davis has traveled the globe with camera in hand for 16 years. Evan has dedicated his career to advocating for social justice through writing and directing short documentaries and educational videos championing the cause of the poor and exploited. Evan draws from his experience and passion as he lends leadership to Shadowline Films, a team of filmmakers who share a common concern for the critical issues of our time. It’s a Girl is his first feature-length documentary. Connect with Evan: twitter.com/evangrae facebook.com/EvanGraeDavis
As the Shadowline Films team welcomes a new year, we can’t help but be excited and humbled by the success of It’s a Girl and response of the international community to this film. When we released It’s a Girl in September of 2012, our hope and desire was to educate and mobilize a movement to end gendercide in India and China. Your incredible support for the film and advocacy for those who share their stories have far exceeded our highest expectations, and we want to thank you for lending your voice to the growing movement demanding dignity and equality for the women of India and China.
As India grieves the death of the young medical student who was brutally gang raped on a moving bus December 16th, 2012, a historic movement continues to develop demanding justice and action from the government. But leaders and legislators have come across as indifferent, unresponsive and out of touch with the reality of violence against women as thousands turn out to demonstrate and march in the streets of Delhi. “The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city,” a National Human Rights Commission statement said. “Especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the national capital in the recent past.”
Groping and sexual harassment of women is often referred to as “eve-teasing” and is attributed to the natural response of men to the behavior of women.
I was privileged to grow up in a home with a father and mother who have a strong, loving relationship. Throughout my life I have witnessed my parents’ commitment to walking though life’s ups and downs together with respect and honor. They have been married for over 50 years and still act like young lovers, even today. I have always known my father to treat my mother and sister with utmost respect and honor.
So when I met my wife, Jennifer, I felt intensely privileged that she would trust herself to me as her lifelong partner. I consider her a treasure of great value– one that I have never earned nor deserve, but has chosen to endure the challenges of life together with me nonetheless.
Throughout my journey directing It’s a Girl, and particularly now that the film is complete, I am frequently asked– and have often asked myself– what are the root causes of gendercide? I have thought a lot about it and continue to explore deeper, searching for the roots underlying son-preference culture and the devaluation of women around the world.
Although this is an extremely complicated matter, and, as an outsider my perspective is limited, here are some thoughts about one possible cause coming out of human nature.
As I look around me every day, it seems the fundamental questions that drive each of us are, do I matter? do I fit in? do I belong? do I have worth? does my life have meaning? am I valued by those around me?
They seem to be the eternal questions of life: why am I here and how can I find meaning in this world?
In an ideal world, every child that is born, whether boy or girl, is taught from the first day of their life that they are wanted. Valued. That they were born into the family they were meant to, and that they belong– regardless of gender or performance.
The Indian woman who is featured in It’s a Girl for killing eight of her own newborn daughters has generated a lot of hostility.
There are an estimated 200 million 'missing' women in the world today. Although a large percentage of these cases occur in Southeast Asia, namely in China and India, son preference is not uncommon in Europe and is a growing problem in the U.S., where a number of reports attest that, yes, Americans too have aborted thousands of babies simply because they are girls.
Abortions based on gender are currently legal in the U.S., eventhough 86% of Americans are opposed to the practice according to a 2006 Zogby International Poll.
The It's a Girl team has been avidly following the Chen Guangcheng story. Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who is featured in our film, has been long advocating for the activist's release and is closely involved in the story.
We were initially thrilled to hear of Chen's escape to the US embassy in Beijing and were concerned for the safety of Chen and his family. Today, like many of you, we are heartbroken and angry to hear that he is back in the hands of the Chinese government and potentially in even greater danger than prior to his escape.
Chen's story dominates world news and it is clear that his dissidence poses a threat to Sino-American relations. However, given the political controversy surrounding his release, it is easy to forget the reason Chen was put under house arrest to begin with; and to forget the plight of those he was speaking out to defend when he lost his good standing with the Chinese officials against whom he protested.
Shadowline Films was born out of the question “What are the underlying roots of inexplicable social injustices like gender inequality and the exploitation of the innocent?”
There are 27 million people trapped in modern-day slavery across the world today- more than any other time in history. 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders and over one million children are exploited by the global commercial sex trade every year. What could possibly make a person capable of abandoning, exploiting or even killing another innocent human being?