Tapestries of Hope: On Myth, Rape, and Resiliency

Joining the push to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), Tapestries of Hope is an extraordinary documentary tracing a Zimbabwe myth about the curing powers of virgin blood, in particular that it can cure HIV/AIDS.

After a decade of actvism focusing on women and children and all forms of abuse ranging from her award-winning short film Flashcards to co-authoring the book, This is Not the Life I Ordered, Tapestries of Hope director Michealene Risley met Betty Makoni. As the founder of the Girl Child Network WorldWide, Makoni created the organization in 1998 as a community to protect and heal child victims of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe. In 2009, CNN named Makoni a Hero.

In a recent interview Michealene shared, "When I first met Betty Makoni, both of us were survivors. She asked me to come to Zimbabwe and I could not refuse."

Teacher and advocate Betty Makoni's desire to help girls comes from the fact she was raped as a child then lost her own mother to domestic violence. Yet from her personal pain, Makoni has built whole communities of girls who are experiencing true healing after profound harm. Enter the power of Tapestries of Hope's message. While watching the film, one cannot ignore that the myth that virgin blood can cure HIV/AIDS is creating the rape of female children from infancy to teenager in Zimbabwe, and that Makoni's Girl Child Network is saving them from otherwise horrific lives of continued gender-based violence (GBV).

This is why Michealene says one of the film's greatest reasons for being is to help people understand why the IVAWA is so vital. "My hope is that this movie gets Congress to sign and fund IVAWA. I truly believe this issue [GBV] is one of the most critical for this century. The passing of I-VAWA would have a tremendous affect on women around the globe, and this is the first time in the history of our country that this would happen."

Tapestries of Hope will continue to screen in theaters around the United States. In February, the movie will go to Video on Demand then video. If you are interested in a screening in your area, email the Tapestries of Hope web site.