Alvin Worzi and Robin Dopoe
Stolen Childhood, a Liberian movie produced to raise awareness against sexual, emotional and physical abuse in homes in Liberia, was officially launched in Monrovia with a silver screen debut.
Held at the TM Mall in Mamba Point with over a hundred children and parents in attendance, the film effectively began its work, which which included an interactive discussion with the audience following the showing.
Stolen Childhood tells the ordeal of two 8-year-old girls, Lucia and Brenda, who were sexually abused by men who were hired by the girls’ parents (respectively) to help watch over them. The movie is based on the real-life experiences of Brenda Moore, who was sexually molested at the age of eight, by a male relative staying with her parents. Moore is the founder of the Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP).
it would take nearly 30 years, after it happened, for Moore to publicly break silence with what she described as “painful reflections” prompted by the eighth birthday of her own daughter. Her bravery has since inspired many other women to share their experiences.
In a statement, Mrs. Moore said that her decision to do the movie “Stolen Childhood” came a few months ago after watching her daughter blow out the candles of her cake on her 8th birthday and realized that keeping silent was not protecting her daughter.
“A year ago, if anyone had told me that I would be standing on a stage, not just facing so many people but also talking about the deepest secret of my life – talking about being molested as a child – I would have not only laughed at the person, but I would have likely told them they were delusional,” Mrs. Moore who is the executive director Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) said.
“But today, here I stand as a woman, a mother, a wife and openly talking about a very painful and dark experience that started at the age of 8. No, I don’t feel stronger than many of the other victims, some of whom have tearfully shared their stories with me. I merely feel the need not to change what happened to me but to ensure other little boys and little girls don’t have to face what I did – that like me, they don’t have to have their innocence stolen,” she said.
“So here I stand, weak, and yes, nervous. Not just ending my silence behind written words or through depictions in a movie,” Mrs. Brenda said, adding, “But standing before you. Lending my face, and my voice, not just to tell my dark story; not just to tell the stories of thousands of victims; but also to prevent and protect other children and to open our society to discussing this prevalent crime and disturbing menace.
“Maybe it was making her and many other children even younger than 8, even more vulnerable to sexual abuse. By not talking about this, it occurred to me that our society was trudging along in haunted pretense that too many of our children were not being sexually abused and their innocence violated. That too many of our children are not having their young bodies broken and their minds perhaps forever seared by the traumatic experience of having their trust in people who should be caring for them being rewarded with abuse,” Mrs. Moore said.
“I stand here because we must lift this lid. We must expose this menace. We must talk about sexual abuse especially of children. It is wrong. It is shameful. And it must stop. Today, I stand to say to you: Enough is enough,” she said.
“Evil can only continue to triumph where good sleeps in conspiratorial silence. I cannot change what happened to me. But I also cannot permit my enduring silence in guilt and shame to conspire against my daughter, against my son, against our children. I cannot. Nor should our society,” she said.
She lauded the cast and production team of Good Dreams Production for making the “Stolen Childhood” possible. “They did all of this important work for free. Now, because of their contributions, we can tell the story and increase public awareness about sexual abuse especially of children,” Mrs. Moore said.
“Special thanks to Lorpu Scott who dared to imagine that this movie was possible. She convinced me after reading my story. Without her drive, persuasion and determination, no doubt, this would not have happened. Thank you, Lorpu,” she added.
According to Brenda Moore, the film will also be screened at various schools, colleges and universities across the country and will also be available on YouTube.