Guest Post :: INTRODUCING Jill S!
We have been casting about here for someone–or a few someones–to help us get the word out about our film. And we found someone!
Girlworld, meet Jill; Jill, Girlworld. Jill will post here from time to time, and is helping a lot with Facebook and Twitter and figuring out and staying on top of all that stuff.
We are thrilled to have her help, and I will let Jill take it from here…
Jill has followed quite an interesting career arc. Ask her about it sometime.
I’m trying to remember exactly the moment I met Amy Benson. I had been invited to a “Paris-style Salon” to meet some like-minded, powerful women. There were about 15 of us gathered together in a room. We were all brought together with the intention that our shared connections would become intertwined. We were meant to meet.
Amy was one of the first women I met when I arrived. I was immediately drawn to her sparkling eyes and welcoming smile. She bubbled with enthusiasm, and that was what sealed the deal. I am a sucker for enthusiasm. We started to talk, diving into topics, perhaps before we even exchanged names. And then I learned about the project she had been working on. She is a documentary film maker and had traveled to Nepal to document on film how girls’ education was going. But along the way, something happened that changed her focus, her life and the story she thought she was going to tell. She told me about this amazing girl she had met, and how this girl, named Shanta, had so many hopes and dreams that she wanted to accomplish. But Shanta didn’t get to actualize those dreams, because she committed suicide.
When I learned how the story had changed, my heart dropped on the floor. Here was so much promise, gone. Just like that. I had so many questions and thoughts race through my mind. What were the contributing factors? Was it the shock of moving from a very rural to a very urban environment? The tension of living with the conflict of values and expectations for girls? I learned that Shanta was from the Untouchable caste. Could that have had an impact? How culturally sensitive was the education being provided? Did it address any of these issues? How is mental health addressed as a component?
These are some of the questions that Amy and her husband Scott are exploring in their film, The Girl Who Knew Too Much. I was immediately drawn to help them because of Amy’s passion, but more than her enthusiasm, it was her compassion and conviction that there is something we can do that will help.
There are many issues that we can care about in the world, and it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed and powerless about them. For me, women’s rights and human rights are definitely at the top of my list. I have been primarily invested in advocating for LGBTQ issues, but these things aren’t discrete and separate. There are often connections and intersections. Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign, reaching out to troubled LGBTQ youth, directly addressed the epidemic of suicide in LGBT teens, and it was a project that changed how I felt about my own involvement around the issue of suicide. In the past, I have felt there was nothing I could do. When I heard Amy was looking for someone to help with PR and social media outreach, I offered my services. I will be working behind the scenes with Amy and Scott, evangelizing to get the word out about this story. Raising the issue and getting it noticed is the first step in a much larger effort that is taking place world wide. This is one concrete way that I can contribute and help to make a difference in a world.
Even though Nepal is literally half the world away, we are all connected. I hope, in this small way, to make life easier for a woman, because we all carry the burden, even if there are times we don’t feel it.