When Lisa Goldblatt Grace was contacted in 2013 about My Life My Choice participating in a new documentary focusing on solutions to sexual violence, her first thought was, “I don’t know.” The film, A Path Appears, follows reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn along with actors and advocates as they work to uncover gender-based oppression and human rights violations across the world, including the United States, as well as the solutions being used to combat these problems. My Life My choice cares deeply about those they help and Lisa worried about protecting the girls. She knew this would be an intrusive process and didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable or taken advantage of. After much thought and discussion, the My Life My Choice team asked themselves: Is this a story that needs to be told? Do we have the responsibility to tell it? And, can we trust these people to tell this story? The final answer was to join in the project.
Filming for A Path Appears began last January and lasted for around 10 days. As Lisa predicted, the process was stressful and intrusive: “You could not move without there being a camera in your face.” Throughout the process, she kept asking, “Is this really okay?” and continued to make sure that nothing was done that could be potentially harmful to the girls in anyway. The film was originally set to feature three girls but was cut to feature only two. One of the stories features a mom who was looking for her daughter and wanted to get the story out. During the filming, she was able to locate her daughter, who also wanted to tell her story. My Life My Choice was able to protect this young woman and tell her story without sacrificing her safety and dignity. The film follows young women and their mothers and highlights domestic minors, as My Life My Choice is able to work with them and protect them from those who once sought to use and harm them. “We felt really strongly about not wanting to do a pity piece. We don’t see if that way. We see strong, resilient girls.” Lisa said about the film. And this comes across in the film, showing a ladder of the most senior staff all the way down through girls in their teens. The film doesn’t show pitiful people. It shows survivors.
The film was shown at a Sneak Preview event last Wednesday at WGBH Studios in Boston. At the event, Boston-based content was shown and followed with an in-depth panel discussion featuring: Nicholas Kristof, Maro Chermayeff, Executive Producer/Director of A Path Appears, Audrey Morrissey, My Life My Choice, and Sargent Detective Dona Gavin, Boston Police Department Human Trafficking Unit. Investigative journalist Philip Martin was the MC for the event. Questions asked of the panel were poignant and explored everything from “Is this really happening here?” to the role of the media and law enforcement and how everyone can work together to end the trafficking of girls.
If you were unable to attend the event, you have not missed your chance to see this important documentary. A Path Appears will air in three parts on PBS starting tonight at 10 PM. The next two parts will air at 10PM on February 2 and February 9. You can learn more about the film at www.apathappears.org, if you miss it on TV, you can watch it online here.