Girl Rising: A Film About Horrors, But It’s Not a Horror Movie

“I’m told my mother burst into tears when she learned my sex. She set me aside in the dirt.”

Amina was born in Afghanistan, but no one made a record of her birth date. Only boys are given that kind of attention. At 11 years old, she was “sold” by her parents as a wife to her cousin for $5,000 — and then they gave the money to their son so he could buy a used car.

Troubled yet? Keep reading.

For girls, Planet Earth is a terrifying place. 50% of sexual assaults in the world victimize girls under the age of 15. An estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence. In the last 30 seconds, 13 girls under the age of 18 found themselves getting married, and probably not to men their age. This will be the story for 38 thousand girls today, and 14 million this year.

If you’re like me, you’d like to stop reading and move on to a subject that’s more pleasant. If you’re like me, these statistics make you feel sick.

That’s how I felt, listening to Amina’s story. But what could I do?

Well, I’m writing about it. I’m encouraging you to seeGirl Rising, to learn Amina’s whole story. Then, I ask you to show it to your friends, your children, your students, your church group. Watch it, think about Amina and the nine other girls featured in the film, and consider how to respond.

My consideration of Girl Rising, and my conversations with others who have strong feelings about what must be done in response to the movie, is published in… appropriately… Response.

And good news: The movie is available streaming through several online services, including It’s also available on DVD.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.