Nadya Ali’s Documentary “Breaking Silence”

Ali, 23, was inspired to create the film after a close family friend revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by an uncle as a child. Over the course of the next few years, Ali said she found out that several more young girls were assaulted by the same family member. The man was never brought to justice.

In fact, Ali says, the perpetrators behind all four of her interviewee’s assaults were never punished for their crimes.

“The women felt their family wouldn’t believe them, or would say they were lying, or had misconstrued what happened because they were children,” Ali told the Huffington Post. “It’s that sort of culture of impunity that really perpetuates the problem.”

One of the goals of the film is to distinguish between between culture and religion. Ali chose to focus on Muslim women because that is the community that she grew up in. However, she emphasized that the problem is universal.“It’s not Islam that causes people to act like this,” Ali said, pointing out how the prophet Muhammad had spoken out against such crimes. “I hope that the film can help people not familiar with our religion to understand that.”