Gender-based abortion, infanticide, bride burning, sex trafficking, widow abandonment — these are just a few of the abuses aimed at women Gospel for Asia highlighted today as it promoted its new documentary “Veil of Tears” (www.veiloftearsmovie.com) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention.
The documentary, which will be released in the U.S. March 28, brings to light the untold abuse and suffering of millions of women across South Asia. This life cycle of oppression targets women specifically because of their gender.
Twenty-four percent of the world’s illegal abortions are performed in India, many of them simply to eliminate the prospect of a female child. In some cases, if a girl survives her first few years of life, she may run the risk of being abused and mistreated, because as a female, there is little value placed on her life. This cultural oppression continues through adulthood.
“Veil of Tears” tells heartbreaking stories through the eyes of its victims — the pain, devastation and destruction — but also shares their hope.
“Our goal with ‘Veil of Tears’ is to portray the realistic picture of millions of women in South Asia who have been abused and trampled, just because of their gender,” said Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and international director of Gospel for Asia. “This mistreatment is so integrated into societies that millions of women wake up each day with little hope for tomorrow. But we are helping to bring change: one girl, one woman at a time.”
“Veil of Tears” is directed and produced by award-winning filmmakers Kenny and Kyle Saylors. The brothers have spent nearly two decades involved with critically-acclaimed projects, including “Kimjongilia.” Their work has appeared on and in FOX News, Newsweek, BBC, Time Magazine, the New York Times, the LA Times and numerous other outlets.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of women are sold into the sex trade throughout Asia, where many remain trapped until they die — most likely from AIDS. Dowry, though outlawed, is still practiced. When dowry is not paid or is not as much as wanted, women face being killed by their new family members. There are more than 7,000 cases of bride burning each year, and tens of thousands of other cases go unreported annually. Why does this happen? Because the bride’s parents cannot pay the requisite dowry.
When a husband dies, it is considered the wife’s fault no matter the cause of death. The widow is seen as cursed. Once blamed, women are shunned, hated and even cast out into the streets — by their own families. The main options for many of these blamed widows? Begging, prostitution or suicide.
Despite this brutal oppression, GFA has thousands of women missionaries dedicated to bringing the message of hope to these destitute women. A remnant of women is rising amid this unjust treatment, and Christ’s love is giving them a new destiny. This destiny is filled not only with Christ’s love, but also with the acceptance of a church family, the gift of literacy and economic opportunities that help break the cycle of poverty.
In limited showings, “Veil of Tears” has already garnered positive accolades:
“A powerful, riveting film,” said the AFA Journal. “‘Veil of Tears’ grabs at the heart and won’t let go. The heroic young women who dedicate their lives to bringing the freedom of Jesus Christ to those without hope are inspiring.”
Suellen Roberts, founder and president of the Christian Women in Media Association, said, “This film captures well the plight of women and the hope which breaks the cycle of abuse and poverty. A must-see for all; it will change your life!”
“Veil of Tears” is scheduled to appear in 15 cities nationwide, including Albuquerque, New, Mexico; Anaheim, Calif.; Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Penn.; Houston, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Clifton, New Jersey. For a complete list of cities, visit seatzy.com/main/allcities/veil-of-tears.
Churches have an opportunity for special viewings of “Veil of Tears.” To find out more, visit www.veiloftearsmovie.com.