Unfortunately, documentaries dealing with personal stories of child sexual abuse are not uncommon. Previously to viewing “She Is..” I have reviewed the Canadian film “Because We Are Girls” and the American film “Relative” and all three films point a finger of the abuser as friends of the family or family members. Years ago we were often told as children beware of strangers. Yes beware of the pervert with a lollipop trying to lure children into his car but the greater danger so as to speak lies more within.
Isabella Grosso tells us her painful recollections of child abuse. Between the ages of 5-17 she recalls 7 different abusers as men and women including some teenage cousins. None of the abusers were strangers.
In 2014 Grosso, a dancer, then founded “She -Is”. Grosso found comfort in dance which gave her a degree of peace and a sense of empowerment to re-connect with her body. The “She-Is” organization seeks to bring some peace to victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking through dance. In addition to operating in the United States she has taken her “mission” to a certain Southeast Asian country where child sexual abuse is particularly rampant. It is never stated in the film which country it is in Southeast Asia but I surmise it is Thailand. Grosso has partnered with Destiny Rescue in Fort Wayne Indiana which rescues both young men and women from sex trafficking. So we see Grosso in action with young girls and women in a certain Southeast Asian country assisted by Destiny Rescue.
We hear from a therapist in the United States who chillingly states that sexual abuse is a national pastime in the United States surpassing baseball. It is twice as common with girls as opposed to boys. Sexual abuse can be generational often resulting in a more fatalistic attitude of mothers thinking it is part of life. The therapist makes an interesting point that sexual abuse takes place in a relationship and the only way to escape and try and heal is through a relationship(s).
For Grosso dance is not a cure as she still suffers from the trauma of sexual abuse but bravo to her for trying to reach out.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that Grosso and her bright eyed and bushy tailed American fellow dancers have a certain naïve zeal almost missionary like. A look at the Destiny Rescue website leaves me with the impression that it is a Christian fundamentalist organization. I wouldn’t have given much to that but having watched documentaries on the displacement of indigenous populations in Brazil due to hydro electric projects and the wreckage of towns housing the displaced where sexually transmitted diseases, violence and addiction run rampant it is the evangelical Christians there to save the day. One is left with an unpleasant feeling they are there looking for converts like vultures as opposed to fighting the conditions and politics leading to the displacement and degradation of indigenous populations. A Destiny Rescue volunteer seen in the documentary in this Southeast Asian Country is an American wearing a “This is America” t-shirt and criticizing local culture partially as a cause of sexual abuse. That begs the question what about the culture of the United States that fosters abuse. Holier than thou? What about the culture of debauched Americans and Europeans doing the abusing in that “certain Southeast Asia country? Enough said.
The documentary is an exclusive release by Gravitas Ventures on digital/VOD platforms including Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and more on 17January2023. The film is directed by Zuzana Lova.
You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/773947528/782a5dadc9
RKS 2023 Film Rating 73/100.