A screening of the film Because We Are Girls takes place Friday, Nov. 1 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium (32315 South Fraser Way) in Abbotsford.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie begins at 7:30 p.m.
Because We Are Girls is a documentary about a conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town B.C. who must come to terms with a devastating secret: three sisters were sexually abused by an older relative starting in their childhood years.
After remaining silent for two and a half decades, the sisters decide to come forward.
One of the siblings, Cloverdale resident Jeeti Pooni, led the effort to have Because We Are Girls made to shed light on the issue and also protect and empower girls today, including her two daughters.
The sisters – Jeeti, Kira and Salakshana – were abused by an older cousin beginning in their childhood years, but didn’t tell the entire family about it until 2006.
As their relatives and police were made aware of the incidents, a court case slowly developed, as did a documentary film directed by Baljit Sangra.
Jeeti knew filmmaker Sangra from her work in the fashion industry, and years ago told her friend about her difficult past.
“I have a lot to do with pursuing the court case and making sure that, for one, we were heard and that the police heard us and the court case proceeded,” Jeeti told Black Press earlier this year.
“I had a lot to do with the film itself, because I was the one who approached the film board, the NFB, that a film should be made about this, and that was in 2014.”
Three years in the making, Because We Are Girls had its world premiere in May of this year in Toronto.
The movie reveals how the girls felt they couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse, for fear of “being shipped off to India” and being shunned for what happened.
Sangra’s 85-minute film also weaves in the moments of happiness and joy the sisters experienced as kids. In home movies, they are shown dancing, singing and celebrating weddings. In newer footage, they return to the playground at their former school in Williams Lake.
The court case ended in charges being stayed against the accused in June of this year.
Tickets for the screening are $12 and are available online at eventbrite.ca or by calling 604-308-0189.
– with files from Tom Zillich,