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This is a story of the strength and resilience of the human spirit of girls who have been brutalized in Pakistan and of a woman who is helping for them rise above their life changing events.

Silent Veil is a powerful documentary focusing on the oft-overlooked issue of domestic abuse in Pakistan, specifically the practice of men burning women. The victims are usually girls aged sixteen to twenty, and the motivations behind their attacks range from rejected proposals to sexual refusal to mere perceived disobedience. However, in nearly all of the cases, the crime goes unreported and unpunished.

The film follows Massarat Misbah, founder and president of Smileagain Pakistan, an organization dedicated to finding these victims and providing them with medical care, psychological counseling and vocational training.

Although Pakistan is a Muslim country, the film makes a strong point of showing that these acts are not representative of the religion as a whole.

The men who commit these acts mostly live in insular, poverty-stricken communities, and as a result suffer from feelings of anger and inadequacy. Their homes are the only places where they have any semblance of power, so they abuse that power and those that dare resist it. Thus, although these acts are monstrous, the film positions them as symptomatic of larger socioeconomic ills.

Traveling throughout the Pakistani countryside, the film crew profiles several victims and the circumstances leading up to their attacks. We hear the stories from three of the victims relating their circumstances. In addition to these women and their families, the filmmakers also spoke with news anchors, university professors and other public figures. There are many interviews with people on the street giving their views on the issues.

In short, the film is not so much above the brutality of these acts as it is about hope and the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Film Credits

Directors: Milt Alvarez

Producers: Milt Alvarez

Photography: Gianny Truttman/Milt Alvarez

Editing: Arndt Peemoeller

Sound: Rick Alexander

Music: Jef Stott

Production Company: Contribution Films


Subtitles: Yes

Voiceover: No


Language: ,

Length: 57:10 min

Colour: Yes


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Silent Veil Screening:

  • Fri20May

    at The Horse Hospital

    20 May 2011 6:30 pm

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