A New Film on Rape in Burma Highlights Crimes Committed Against Women

A new film on rape and sexual violence in Burma highlights crimes committed against women. The film, “Mother, Daugher, Sister” is a gripping and hauntingly real documentary of stories of women who have witnessed rape or have been raped by the Burmese military and authorities. Director Jeanne Hallacy, who is a compassionate and strong-willed woman, presents the film to audiences around the country, including The George Washington University in Washington, DC where I had the honor of meeting her and other special guests, including a young woman who was a victim.


The film includes the story of this mother holding a picture of her daughter, a school teacher brutally raped repeatedly by military men. (see below) The mother continues to mourn her daughter’s loss and has learned to forgive the perpetrators, which is perhaps one of the most difficult things for a parent to do. In the film, Hallacy travels to two dfferent areas of Burma to listen and document the stories of rape victims and survivors–they are Muslim and Christian women. 

Some of these women live in camps in Bangladesh, a country they fled to to escape brutal violence by the Burmese military. An estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees live there now. 

Today, the women of Burma are reaching out to other women and the international community “to heal from the trauma, seek justice and demand accountability for this crime.” Bringing the perpetrators–the Burmese military and government at large–is one of the first steps to healing.

At the local level, some female community and aid workers in the camps also provide counseling and one remarkable Burmese woman, who is featured in the film, is helping other rape victims overcome shame. 

After the film event, I had an opportunity to speak to the director, who told me that it is her hope that when we become aware of this unspeakable tragedy in Burma, then perhaps something will be done to bring an end to the conflict. After all, Burmese women deserve our attention. 

You can support the women of Burma by becoming educated on the conflict. And you can spread awareness by joining the Facebook group .

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