On June 6th, Reel Causes is proud to present Because We Are Girls in support of Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV).
This film is a story about sisterhood and resilience as three sisters in a conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town BC come to terms with a devastating secret: they were sexually abused by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. After remaining silent for nearly two and a half decades, the sisters decide to come forward—not only to protect other young relatives, but to set an example for their daughters as well.
We spoke with Gregg Taylor, Director of Counselling & Trauma Programs, and Lillian Chen, Clinical Services Manager – Counselling and Trauma Service, at FSGV about the impact of this film on the community and what services they offer to survivors of sexual abuse and trauma.
Tell us a bit about FSGV and what services you offer.
Since 1928, Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) has been working to build healthier communities by transforming the lives of the people it serves— from individuals and families impacted by trauma, to youth experiencing homelessness, to isolated seniors and newcomers to Canada. No matter the challenges faced by those who seek our support, FSGV meets clients where they are, without judgement. FSGV is known throughout the Lower Mainland as a leading provider of specialized family, trauma and abuse counselling. Our trained trauma counsellors support clients through their journey to healing – overcoming traumatic memories, re-integrating mind, body, and emotions, and building resilience to live life to the fullest. We offer a number of trauma programs funded by various government ministries, and also offer fee-based counselling to the broader community through our community counselling centres in Vancouver, Richmond and New Westminster. (www.fsgv.ca/counselling or 604-874-2938)
Because We Are Girls has proved to be incredibly popular among Vancouverites. Do you notice the impact of a film like this at FSGV?
We are very excited to be part of presenting this film in Vancouver, providing a venue for people to experience this personal, moving, and inspiring film. Events like these definitely increase public awareness regarding the ongoing effort to address issues of domestic violence and abuse – a problem often hidden by shame, stigma, and secrecy, as addressed in this film. And for those who have themselves experienced trauma and abuse, open discussions like these bring these issues to the foreground, and demonstrate that it is okay to speak out, tell the truth, and to ask for help. One recent client shared their experience of our programs, saying “this program has been the greatest blessing of my life. I feel in my heart that I have been given my life back, that I can trust again and that my faith in humanity has been restored.”
While this film has the potential to be triggering for audiences, it is an incredibly important story. What advice would you give to those who are reluctant to attend a screening?
This film is so well done, and deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible. It presents clearly and honestly the impact of sexual abuse, and reveals how culture, stigma, and shame work to silence victims, women in particular. What ultimately emerges, however, is a story of courage, resilience, healing, and hope.
For people who have experienced abuse and trauma themselves, or within their families, it’s always wise to consider whether they’ve had enough processing, healing and support to comfortably watch the film. Attending with a friend, and ensuring you have appropriate supports available to you is always wise. We will have a counsellor present at the film should anyone feel they need support during or after the film, or want more information about our programs, and we will have one of our team present during the panel session following the screening, to address questions brought up by the film.
Get tickets for our June 6th event here.
Reel Causes partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues. We host film screenings followed by a Q&A session to educate and inspire our community, and provide a forum for authentic conversation around the issues that affect us locally.