Soon after we launched the No Society, someone messaged us on instagram recommending that we watch this documentary, “Because We Are Girls”.
The documentary is following 3 sisters and a cousin who’s family immigrated to Canada from India, on their journey taking their rapist to court. They all had the same abuser – a family member that used to live in the same house as them. The documentary is local – the family being from Surrey, BC. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of the documentary sooner, especially since the topic of sexual assault is one that I follow so closely in the media and on the news.
The documentary takes us into the girls’ lives starting from when they were young children. It opens with stories of how they experienced racism and sexism in their childhood. Their stories felt so close to home – knowing that they grew up in Surrey. Right from the first opening scenes, seeing places near where I also grew up… the story latched onto my heart.
The film addresses how some of the girls’ favourite Bollywood films affected their world-views as young girls.They believed it was their purpose to be pure in order to be accepted by a man. They believed they had to be submissive to men and that their life purpose was to please them. This overall contributed to why they stayed silent for so long. The films of their childhood are used to help tell their stories.
“Look at the cost of breaking the cycle” – Jeeti Pooni
The girls’ journey highlights how intense and how painful it can be to break the cycle of abuse and try to stop abusers from being able to abuse anyone else. It communicates this in a way that feels real and honest… but isn’t too triggering for viewers to watch. They share just enough information to start a conversation.
One of the most impactful scenes for me was watching their brother share how he viewed the abuser when they were kids. They all lived together – all the cousins. The brother of the girls would have never in a million years guess what was going on. He looked up to this cousin – the attacker. The attacker was nice to him.. bought him video games and treated him well. He was entirely unaware that his role model was climbing into his sister’s beds at night and hurting them. This goes to prove that it is almost never obvious who the monsters are. Their loved ones are often surprised and in disbelief when they discover the truth.
The heaviest part of the documentary to me was when one of the daughters shares her heart with her parents about how she feels they did not support her the way she needed them to once she told them about the attacks. She says,
“I was drowning. I was drowning and I was putting out my hand so my mom and dad could grab it, and you didn’t. You pushed me down even more’. – Kira Pooni
These words are heavy and heated but those feelings are so real. The feeling of drowning is one that many of us survivors can relate to. When people tell us to hide our stories or to cover up what happened to us and ‘forget it and move on’ it is usually very damaging to us. It does, in fact, feel like your words are a hand pushing us back underwater. This scene is really helpful for loved ones of survivors to watch.
I’ll stop there. I don’t want to write too much about this, because I want you to watch the film. Please make time out of your weekend to watch this film. Everyone from BC, and even those who are not, should watch this. We have linked the documentary below for Canadian viewers, and USA viewers can watch this from Amazon Prime Video.
We also ask that you click below to find a very important petition to sign, which you will understand more about if you watch or if you click the link. It takes only seconds out of your day, so please click HERE to sign.
Love, R + K