It is hard to capture this day in words.
We have interviewed a small selection of the girls, who have come forward to share their stories – and they have left us speechless.
We listened to what these girls have experienced in their lives: the violation, the betrayal, the loss of loved ones – and then we see them rise. One realises how much they have had to carry with them, but there they stand with such grace, such humility and such strength.
It has been a day of tears, of memories, of girls sitting before camera sharing their stories – unravelling years of abuse that they have never spoken, not even to their families, but have chosen the “anonymity” of camera to share their brokenness.
These young women embody the spirit of the words of Maya Angelou:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.