KCPT’s Community Cinema kicked off its 2012-2013 Season on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 11am with Half the Sky. Nearly 100 people came to the Tivoli Cinemas to see segments from the upcoming documentary series and connect with local organizations.
Half the Sky profiles women across the globe that are combating oppression and issues like gender-based violence, sex-trafficking, maternal mortality and forced prostitution with education, healthcare and economic empowerment. At the screening attendees viewed segments dealing with sex-trafficking in Cambodia and gender-based violence in Sierra Leone. Afterwards community partners from The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Veronica’s Voice, Hope House, AAUW-KC and the UMKC Women’s Center shared insights about the kinds of violence and discrimination women in our community face.
For example, Hope House is Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter and has 128 spaces for victims of domestic violence. However, they are always full and turn away more women than they can serve each year.
The founder of Veronica’s Voice, shared how she herself had been sex-trafficked from a young age and how her organization works to stop sexual exploitation.
Attendees shared the following questions and comments during the discussion:
- A female teenager asked the panel if they thought mass media has made gender inequality worse and increased domestic violence. All panelists agreed that it has and that the objectification of women in the media has gotten worse.
- “As an African American woman, it concerns me that in communities of color there is a degree of normalcy to rape. How do we get women of color to go outside of their community to report rape?”
- ”The film infuriated me! Where are all the men?”
- It’s easier for us to look at what is going on in Africa and Asia and make a judgement about those cultures, than to look at our own culture and see the hyper-sexualization and objectification.
- To make a difference, it is really important to educate men, women the media and put more women in positions of authority.
- A teacher at a local Catholic High School started using the Half the Sky book as part of her curriculum for her debate students last year. Those students have since started a social justice club. She felt that the celebrity personalities detracted in some ways from the segments and was shocked by the fact that it was two men (one of which was Kristof) who sort of concerned the young woman in Sierra Leone, after she decided not to pursue prosecution against the man who raped her.