It's a Girl! (2012) Movie Script

This Indian woman has killed
eight of her baby girls.
I just strangled it soon
after it was born.
Why keep girls when raising
them would be difficult?
She would get pregnant in
the hopes of having a son.
But each time she'd deliver
a daughter instead
and each time she'd kill the baby
because she did not want a daughter.
She wanted a son.
I felt we could keep it
only if it was a male,
and kill it if it was a
female child.
I would kill it and bury it.
Women have the power to give life
and the power to take it away.
Sadly, this woman's
story is not unique.
In many nations,
particularly India and China,
the three most dangerous words
heard at the birth of a child are:
"It's a Girl. "
Around the world, the
average gender ratio
is 105 boys for every
100 girls born.
But in certain regions
in India and China,
that ratio is as high as 140
boys to every 100 girls.
And each year, that ratio skews
more and more toward boys
as fewer and fewer
girls are born.
What is causing this
tremendous shift
in the two most populated
nations on earth?
In India and China, most families
prefer sons to daughters.
Their cultures and traditions
have instilled in them a belief
that sons bring strength,
blessing and wealth to the family.
Daughters do not.
In fact, daughters in
these cultures
are typically considered drains
on families and their resources.
For instance, in India,
a daughter's family
is usually expected to pay
an expensive dowry
of property and money
to the husband's family.
Families with sons gain wealth
and daughters-in-law.
Families with daughters lose
both their wealth to dowry,
and their daughters.
This cultural preference for
sons has led many families
to rid themselves
of female children.
Baby girls are
frequently aborted,
killed immediately after birth,
or abandoned.
Those daughters that
do live, though,
often become victims
of neglect and abuse.
This mass extermination
of female children...
this gendercide...
is the direct result of cultures
which place a high value
on the lives of boys
and a low value on
the lives of girls.
In our homes and orphanages,
many children,
they are handed over
by their own parents.
Generally, poor parents,
they do not like to
have female children.
Glory Dass runs several
orphanages in Southern India.
Many of the girls in his homes
were abandoned by families
who did not want daughters.
The parents, even sometimes
they don't have feeling of sad
when they kill their babies,
because what they think,
within a minute
the child can die
instead of the child struggling
and dying day by day,
every day in the poverty.
What they think, they want to
in a minute to kill their baby.
It was due to meager income...
When there is no income,
nothing can be done.
No earnings of a male member.
Again, me alone struggling
with my own earnings,
it was not possible to
manage the family.
Mariamall, she said, she
don't feel anything bad,
that she killed her baby
many years back,
because now she is
struggling by poverty,
and lots of ups and
downs in her family.
So she feels if the
baby were still alive,
she would have suffered
very much.
It was because of dowry.
Our men can't make enough money
to meet high costs of living.
It is difficult to provide
jewelry for marriage
With income so low, it is even
difficult to manage for food.
What they generally do,
they just wet the cloth,
and they fold it like this,
and they put it on the face,
so the child can't breathe.
Immediately the child will die.
This is an entire system, a
social machinery, that says,
"We don't want females. "
The killing of females
is actually systemic.
That... it is not just
before birth,
but it's also after birth,
and different stages of birth.
There's a huge amount
of female infanticide.
Girls under the age of
five, five and under,
have a very high
mortality rate.
Either they don't get food,
or if they're sick, they don't
want to spend on medicine.
It is negligent homicide.
They are just allowed to die,
in a way that boys are
not allowed to die.
In India today, the devaluation
of women and girls is widespread.
Because of factors like female feticide,
female infanticide,
abuse and neglect,
one out of four girls does
not live past puberty.
The mortality rates for girls
between the ages of one and five
are 40% higher than
those of boys.
Why are some of the
Indian households
secretly and brutally
eliminating daughters
from their family system?
Are Indians hating women?
They like daughter in-laws,
but they don't like daughters.
A responsibility to take care of
the parents is on the male child.
It's also that the male child
is supposed to perform
the last rites.
This is also a system
of patriarchy,
and so the family property,
family tradition, family responsibilities
are to be shared by and
carried forward by the son;
whereas the daughter,
after getting married,
gets nearly disconnected
with her parental family
except in times of emergency.
So a grownup daughter
is literally no good,
so far as family's wealth
system is concerned,
family's requirements
are concerned,
family's challenges
are concerned.
And this makes Indian people
have son preference and
daughter avoidance.
According to one UN estimate,
there are up to 200
million missing women
in the world today
due to gendercide.
Today, India and China
eliminate more girls
than the number of girls born
in America every year.
Genocide is the deliberate,
systematic destruction
of a racial, ethnic,
or religious group.
Gendercide is the deliberate,
systematic destruction
of a gender group
- Usually girls.
Can you tell me
what were the methods you
used to kill children?
By pouring acid to suffocate...
sometimes by strangulation.
So they crush the neck,
or they put the wet
cloth on the face.
Sometimes they
put some rice,
the child will die.
Sometimes they give poison,
some drops of poison in
the milk.
There are some special plants,
if they take the milk from
that plant, the child will die.
We just came down to Haryana
to one of our projects
to have a meeting with the
local community here.
This was arranged by our
Field Coordinator.
And in this meeting we
discussed various topics
of female feticide, of dowry,
of equality of girl
child and boy child.
What is it to us if it
is a boy or girl?
We have to end the
dowry system.
This is mostly a problem
with our men
that we have to solve.
Dowry system is one of the main
problems for female feticide.
It is because of this that girls
are considered a burden.
All the women said that
boys and girls are equal,
and we don't have anything
against girls and boys,
it's more our men who force
us to have a male child.
Although there was
a hidden tone
in which everybody said that
once you have a girl child,
please do not kill them,
and it's completely incorrect
to do infanticide.
But, on the other hand,
they were also talking about
not to have a girl child.
So in a hidden tone, they were
supporting female feticide,
and commenting about,
once you have a child,
then you should not kill them.
But your first child - and everybody
had the same answer -
has to be a boy.
Because you wish for a boy,
as he will make sure your
family lineage continues.
He'll make sure the property of
the family remains in the family,
and he'll make sure the
daughters, his sisters,
will be in safe hands.
Dressed up with flowers
on the head,
wearing all gold jewels,
you got me married.
But I stand here with
tears in my eyes.
One caste, one blood and one
relationship could not be,
so you gave me
away in marriage.
You did not see their
blood and relationship?
But I stand here with
tears in my eyes.
Being brought up
with so much love,
this girl in this awful crowd.
I am stuck and I am struggling.
Is there no way
out of this pain?
In India, as girls grow up
into women,
their plight does not improve.
More than 100,000 are
murdered each year
because they fail
to produce sons
or because their new
husbands or in-laws
are not satisfied with the
dowry they've received.
In 1961, the Indian government
outlawed dowry
to prevent such crimes,
yet the practice still
remains common today.
And a majority of
dowry-related crimes
are never investigated
or prosecuted.
Maya and Raju had four children
- all of them daughters.
I just concentrated on
my four daughters
and I prayed to God that they
would have no difficulties.
We were very happy
with our daughters...
more than we would have
been with a son.
As their eldest daughter,
Latika, got older,
her parents worried she
wouldn't find a man to marry.
Then we showed her this man.
She kept saying she
didn't like him,
but I insisted.
My daughter used to say,
"You are treating me as
a burden. "
"You want to get rid of me. "
After the man agreed
to marry Latika,
Maya and Raju collected
what they could
to put together as a dowry.
And so Latika and the
man were married.
Soon Latika got pregnant and
gave birth to a baby girl.
This made Latika happy,
but upset her husband.
Latika's husband frequently
drank too much
and would abuse her.
Latika though, not wanting
to worry her parents,
didn't tell them about
the abuse.
Then, one day, Maya and
Raju received word
that Latika was in the hospital.
The in-laws said her condition
was very serious
and she can't speak.
I knew they were hiding something,
and I started crying
because I didn't know
what else to do.
By the time Maya and Raju
made it to the hospital,
it was too late.
Latika was dead.
When we saw her, my wife
saw the mark on her neck.
We realized she was dead.
We started crying and wailing.
We lost our senses;
we didn't know how
can he kill her.
They told us a lie and
they cheated us.
We sold half our land and we
gave them so many gifts.
Latika's husband had claimed
she had hung herself.
But Maya and Raju
didn't believe him.
The police arrested Latika's
husband for the killing of his wife
in what is known as a dowry death.
But after a few weeks,
they let him go.
In India, courts frequently
ignore dowry deaths
and other crimes against women.
Now Maya and Raju worry about
Latika's baby girl -
their granddaughter.
They worry for her safety,
living with the man
who killed Latika.
Homes where there is tremendous
violence inflicted on women,
are the same homes
where violence
is killing girls of five and
under at an abnormal rate.
So it is like the female becomes
one of the inadvertent pawns
in this resource exchange,
in a patriarchy.
So you can buy her, sell
her, keep her or kill her,
however you want.
It's like with any resource,
so that is the complete
dehumanization of females.
Dowry and infanticide and
feticide go hand in hand.
The minute dowry
enters a community
everyone becomes
greedy for dowry.
They think this is another way of
getting huge amounts of money.
And they demand huge
amounts in dowry.
And if they're entitled
to get dowry,
then they have to give
dowry as well.
So that becomes reason not to
have girls and daughters.
And so that doesn't matter
whether you are very poor,
or you're very rich in India.
That same logic applies.
If you're very rich,
you're getting foreign BMW's
and Mercedes in dowry,
but you have to give
that also in dowry.
So the logic for why feticide
and infanticide
are occurring today
are actually more...
It is really greed-based.
It is not based on
economic necessity.
It is greed-based,
it's every son is one way
of getting money in,
and every daughter less
is less outflow of money
from within a family.
Poor families who want to avoid
paying expensive dowries
frequently kill or abandon
their newborn daughters.
Wealthier families use
ultrasound machines
to learn the gender of
the child;
then, if the child is a girl,
commit female feticide,
aborting their baby because
of her gender.
Infanticide was a very horrible,
very terrible thing
to live with for the
rest of your life.
So the medical profession provided
an easy, kinder way of killing.
As if killing before birth
somehow made it kinder,
killing behind an operation
theatre table
makes it less gory,
less bloody.
Now infanticide to a
smaller level
has occurred throughout
history in India, China,
and the rest of Southeast Asia.
But when female feticide came,
it was so easily socially
In the worst of times in history,
in Medieval times,
not more than 1, 2, 3, 4
percent girl children
were killed at birth
as infanticide.
But now in modern societies
like India and China,
20, 25, 30 percent girls are
being killed before birth.
The pressure started
the moment they came to
know that I'm carrying twins.
The pressure started to get the
sex determination test done.
Mitu's husband and his mother
demanded Mitu get an illegal
sex determination test
because they feared the
twins would be girls.
When Mitu refused, they
locked her in her room.
The next three days I was not
given anything to eat or drink.
The only thing that
was demanded
was that they wanted a sex
determination test done
and abortion if both babies
are females.
My mother-in-law told me
this in front of my mother,
that for one lac rupees
($2000 USD)
we can get one baby
killed inside my womb,
so if they are girls
at least do that.
Usually in such cases where women
are pressurized they give in.
They feel like the lesser evil will
be to terminate the fetuses,
because that way you're
protecting your own family,
you're protecting your marriage,
and at some point in time
you can give birth to
the so-called son, the
one that is wanted,
and in the process they will
be one happy story,
and the bad stories will
be forgotten.
That is why the sex ratio
in India has declined.
Knowing Mitu was
allergic to eggs,
her husband and his mother
baked a cake made with
eggs and fed it to her.
When Mitu became ill, she had
to be taken to the hospital.
There, Mitu's husband
and his mother
convinced the doctor to secretly
perform an ultrasound.
When the doctor did,
the ultrasound revealed
that Mitu's twins
were both girls.
The demands for
abortion intensified.
Now there were no demands
for sex determination.
Now the demand
was for abortion.
In a fit of rage, Mitu's husband
pushed her down the stairs.
Then, she was locked in a room
- Injured and bleeding -
in hopes she would miscarry.
But Mitu was determined
to have her daughters.
She escaped to her
parent's house.
Eventually, she gave birth
to her twin daughters,
though two months premature.
She had not told her
parents everything.
Her parents, who are her
support group now,
she had not even told them.
That's a very common
story in India,
that women do
not tell anybody
and especially in their
own families,
because being unsuccessful
in a marriage
is not only about the
woman's own status,
it's also about her own
family's status.
So they would be looked
down upon.
There would be a certain
amount of social ostracism.
That is why a Dowry Prohibition
Act sometimes fails,
because a family would rather pay
that dowry to keep the marriage,
and then have all the violence
unleashed on their daughter
rather than taking her out
from there.
My husband told me that he
wants a mutual divorce.
He hates me and he doesn't
want to live with me,
wants to remarry because he
wants to have sons,
which I have not given him.
He has not got anything
by marrying me.
He has not got dowry,
he has not got sons,
so according to him
I was a useless wife.
He wanted to throw me out.
Then I think she changed from
being a victim to a survivor.
I think there was change in
her personality at that stage,
and that is not at all common.
We have seen a lot of women
who probably break the silence,
but then they go back.
There is some kind of a
compensation by the family,
or they have been
frightened to go back
or they feel it's better not to go
out into the public and do this,
so they get back with
their families.
On 9th of May I filed a complaint
to the PNDT department,
which bans sex determination.
They didn't take
any action on it.
In order to curb the growing practice
of female feticide, India passed
the Preconception and Prenatal
Diagnostic Techniques Act in 1994.
The PCPNDT act made it illegal
for a doctor to determine
a fetus' gender
and for parents to abort a
child because she is a girl.
According to the PCPNDT,
doctors with ultrasound machines
must be registered and
are required to report
whenever they perform an
ultrasound and for what reason.
But many doctors
ignore the law.
Families pay these doctors
under the table
to discover the gender
of their child,
in order to abort the
fetus if it is a girl.
And though such practices
are illegal,
the government rarely investigates
instances when the law is broken.
As a result, sex-selective abortion
continues to be common in India.
All together it's a connivance
between the family
and status of a very
disempowered woman.
She can't really say anything
and connivances between the family,
doctor, and the technology people
that is coming together to take away
the right to life from the girl children.
For the doctors, the more
unethical they are,
the greater their income.
Because there's virtually total impunity
to the crimes they commit.
No risk of being caught,
but enormous profits.
You will hardly hear of any cases where
it has been enforced in any state,
and there is absolutely no accountability
from the top to the bottom.
Today, Mitu continues to plead with
the government to prosecute
her husband, who forced her
to get the illegal ultrasound
as well as the doctor
who performed it.
Doctors make large
sums of money
for performing such
ultrasounds, though.
And the courts favor doctors
and hospitals in such cases.
This fight has been going
on for years.
The Chief District Medical Officer,
who was supposed to take action
and seal the hospital on this,
he called me to his
office in August.
I, along with Mrs. Bijayalaxmi Nanda,
who is a good friend of mine,
we went to his office.
And there I was told that,
"What's the problem if your
husband wants a son?
You are young, you can
again get pregnant. "
He said, "I'm giving
you fatherly advice. "
So I asked him, "Sir, what do
you mean by a fatherly advice?
Does this mean that in
the next pregnancy
you're asking me to go for a
sex determination test?
Or you mean to say that we
women are just machines
and we should go on producing
children until we get a son?"
I started receiving threats
that I'll be murdered
and my daughters will be killed
if I do not withdraw the cases.
And eventually on the night
duty at 11:30 P.M.,
one senior doctor came
and he threatened me
with rape if I do not withdraw
the complaints.
What should I do to
save my daughters?
Where do I go from here?
But the reason I am
rushing to the courts
is that if all this can happen with
an educated woman like me,
what is the guarantee
my future generations,
my daughters will not face the same
harassment when they grow up?
It is 16 years since
the act was passed
and I am the first complainant,
and I am being harassed.
I've been writing to
the Prime Minister,
to the President, to
the Health Minister.
I've been visiting their offices
but nothing has come out of it.
Will any other Mitu
come forward?
Now she's mobilized a lot of people
on the issue on her own.
She runs her own blogs.
She tells her stories,
which is very difficult
to break out of the mold
and tell your own stories.
She keeps people updated
on her own cases.
She's fighting a battle on her own,
with her own resources.
And she tries to build up
public support.
I think from a
victim to a survivor
to being the face of a campaign
for missing girls,
Mitu is a role model in
many ways.
I am yet to see a mother
who revels so much
and is so happy about just
seeing her daughters grow.
I think in that way
she is an example.
The female gendercide
prevalent in India
is also widespread in
its neighbor China.
Like India, China is a
patriarchal nation
with a strong son-preference
But the Chinese government
has created a policy,
which ultimately
encourages gendercide.
In response to fears of
China introduced the One-Child
Policy in 1979.
The law restricts most Chinese
couples to one child.
Rural families, though,
are allowed a second child
if their first is a daughter...
so they can try for a son.
Enforcement of the policy
is strict and harsh.
Families found in violation
of the policy
may be subject to forced abortion
or forced sterilization.
There are people in the village
that look for people like me.
They reported me.
Li and her husband lived
in a rural village
with their two daughters.
They were allowed two children
because their first
child was a girl.
But their families desperately
wanted them to have a son.
So, though it was
against the law,
Li and her husband decided to
have a third child,
in the hopes that it
would be a boy.
When they found out that they
would be having another girl,
their parents told them
to get rid of the baby.
Another daughter would
do them no good.
But Li and her husband
wanted to keep their child.
They called her
husband's parents
to tell them the third one
was going to be a girl.
Then the grandparents
told them to abort it.
But Li and her husband said no,
they would still have
it even if it is a girl.
In China there is a system
of paid informants,
where women who are
illegally pregnant
can be informed on
by their neighbors,
their friends, their co-workers,
their supervisors...
just walking down the street
and looking a little bit bigger.
These are paid informants.
So then, the family
planning office
keeps track of all these women
who are illegally pregnant
and then they will have
a family planning raid
where they will do a sweep of
that particular neighborhood
and just drag out all the women
who are illegally pregnant
and bring them down to the
family planning office
and force them all
to have abortions.
The Chinese One-Child policy
is enforced by the Family
Planning Police,
a militant order that monitors
and arrests families
in violation of the policy.
The Family Planning Police heard Li
was pregnant with her third child,
so they forced their
way into her home.
Li was just behind the door.
She was too frightened to move.
It scared her down to the core.
Her heart was pounding hard.
He looked inside the window.
I was sitting against the
door. He didn't see me.
If he had seen me, I would
have been taken away, too.
They would have, for sure,
fined us and aborted my child.
They wanted my husband to go
with them to their office.
He refused to go.
They dragged him to their office.
A few of them yelled at him,
and dragged him to the Family
Planning Committee office.
At that point, a bunch of
people restrained him,
more than ten men.
His hands were shaking like this,
just shaking like this.
Those men dragged him
away as he struggled.
That afternoon, they said they
would release him
if he paid a 10,000 yuan
($1500 USD) fine.
To save the life of their baby girl,
Li and her husband
went into hiding.
Eventually, Li gave
birth to their daughter.
But because their child
was born illegally,
they had to remain hidden.
If you are at home, you
can't leave the house.
You will just hide
inside the house.
Even if you hide in the
house, if they found out,
they would still come to
your door and take you away.
So, we are too afraid
to stay there.
The Family Planning people
chased them everywhere.
When she went to her
husband's family,
the Family Planning people
there chased them, also.
They didn't know what to do,
so they left at the
beginning of this year.
They said that people are coming
to catch families with two girls.
Just families that have
had two or three girls.
People who had more than
two kids will be taken away.
So they fled again.
This time to a distant region,
leaving behind their three daughters
with different relatives.
Today, Li and her husband work
in a distant, far-off factory,
earning what they can to send home
to provide for their daughters.
They miss their children,
but they also understand
that if they were to
return to their village,
they would be arrested
and severely punished
by the Family Planning Police.
Mom went to work
and make money.
She needs to make money
so I can go to school.
I miss her so much.
I want my mom to come back.
I don't want her to work anymore.
I told her to abort it, but
she insisted on having it.
If she aborted it, first off,
less burden.
Secondly, you would be
better off with a boy.
She said, "I don't care
about the burden.
Even if there were
burdens to come,
they would be my
burdens and not yours. "
I am not with my children,
and I can't take care of them.
I worry about them being
sick or something like that.
I am thinking about this
right now.
I am mostly thinking about
my youngest daughter.
She was only five
months when I left.
I left her at home.
We just want to work here
for a few more years
so we can go back
and fix our house
and take care of our children
so that they can live
a better life, too.
The One-Child Policy
was enforced
through financial
punishment on parents.
Now, during the 80s these
financial punishments
implied that parents were
denied some of their income
to the tune of 10% of income
from both parents for 14 years
until the child reached
15 years old.
And in recent years, the
One-Child Policy punishments
have become even more severe...
Two to three years of
family income
for parents to have at
least one kid.
Some of these parents have
decided to have a kid
in spite of the policy.
But for many parents,
they were forced to choose
between a financial punishment
they could not afford,
or not having a son,
which is something they also
couldn't deal with.
And so for those parents,
they were choosing
between financial ruin or engaging
in sex-selective abortion.
I have been married
for about ten years.
Five years ago, my husband
and I got pregnant
without much preparation.
Our daughter was an
unexpected surprise.
At that time, we didn't
prepare very well.
So our hearts were very torn,
but since it was our first child,
after we accepted it,
we put a lot of heart into the
whole pregnancy process
and her growth afterwards.
Last month, we found out suddenly
that I am pregnant (again).
I am really looking
forward to this new life.
On the other hand, this also
put a lot of pressure on me.
Because policies are not
supportive of it.
Some policies encourage
people to report on people,
so if someone in the community
wants to report you,
that person would be able
to get some rewards.
Then I might be forced to have
an abortion or something.
And my husband's job
would be affected, too.
If it's serious I might need
to leave my job,
because having a second
child is against the policy.
Also, if we are going to
have the child in China,
this child would not
have citizenship,
which means this child
can't go on an airplane
or can't leave the country,
but can only take the
train or drive.
Going to school and
other welfare,
he won't have these.
Parents would also carry
a name on their back,
a bad name.
In China, a new population of
illegal children are emerging.
These children have no
official existence;
they are ineligible for
education and health care.
And when they grow up,
they can not officially be married,
own land, or hold a job.
They have no future in China.
If you want to have citizenship
you need about 200,000
RMB ($31,000 USD).
First, this money is something
that we don't have.
Second, it's not worth it.
In my own family,
my dad really hoped for a son,
because we have three
His expectation brought
me the same idea,
that it would be a really
good thing to have a boy.
If I have a boy, people will
treat me to a meal;
if I have a girl I will treat them.
This means you either make
money or lose money.
We are worried about
policies, money,
where should we have the baby,
meaning where can we go
and have the baby safely
so that the baby would not
be affected by the policies.
We need to be secretive.
We sometimes will have to
hide during my pregnancy.
Things like this are
making me stressed.
The Chinese Communist
Government has declared,
or even boasted,
that over the past 30
years of One-Child Policy
they have prevented over 400
million lives in China.
That's greater than the entire
population of the United States.
They also reported that there
are 13 million abortions a year.
That is about 35,000 a day
and almost 1,500 an hour.
Many of these abortions
are forced abortions,
up to the 9th month
of pregnancy.
According to the World
Health Organization,
500 women a day kill
themselves in China
and countless more attempt it.
China has the highest
female suicide rate
of any country in the world.
Could this epidemic of
female suicide in China
be related to forced abortion,
forced sterilization,
and female infanticide?
How does a woman feel
about herself as a woman
if she has killed her daughter
just because she's a girl?
How does that make her feel
about herself?
How does that make her feel
about her own right to live,
to draw breath on this earth?
Right now, we're on the cusp of
an explosion in the sex ratio
amongst the sexually mature
population age groups.
So Chinese marriage markets
are on the verge of collapse.
Today in China there
are around
37 million more males
than females living.
This is often called
bare branches.
That means these men will
never find wives inside China.
This serious gendercide has
caused sex trafficking,
prostitution market,
and child bride kidnapping.
These bare branches are
a growing problem.
Each year, 1.1 million more boys
are born than girls in China.
And currently there are 37
million more men than women.
That means there are 37 million
fewer women for men to marry.
As finding a woman to marry
becomes more and more
difficult for men,
child trafficking has
increased dramatically.
Girls are stolen or
purchased by families
so they can be secured as
future brides for their sons.
My child was playing right
outside of the door.
I realized she was
missing by 5:30
and I left to look
for her at 5:40.
I didn't realize she
was missing,
because in this place no one
has ever been missing before.
When it turned dark,
around 8:00,
I thought for sure
she was missing.
She was very little at the time;
she was only two and a half.
Our radio in the village broadcast
the news of our child.
"Whichever family that has the child,
please take her back home. "
Still there's nothing.
At that time I realized that someone
had kidnapped my child for sure.
My spirit was totally collapsed.
I was sitting by the
road yelling and crying,
where is my child, who
took my child away?
They searched the
surrounding villages,
handing out fliers with their
daughter's picture.
For months there was no
sign of her,
and the longer she was gone,
the more her parents worried.
I saw the picture of my child,
I was wondering if she
was cold or wet.
During the day, we went
out to look for our child.
At night, we couldn't sleep.
We looked and looked for seven
months and seven days.
We did everything we could.
Then someone in another village
said she had seen a child
looking like the little girl
living in a nearby home.
The parents went
with the police
to the home the caller
had reported.
Inside, they found their daughter,
healthy and unharmed.
The police arrested the residents
who had kidnapped her.
When I found my child,
I realized that my life
had changed completely.
After she came back she never
played by the door anymore.
We tell her to go play by the door,
she said,
"No, I am afraid the bad
people would come. "
The couple is believed to
have stolen the little girl
to provide a future
bride for their son.
It's estimated that there
are approximately
70,000 children every year that
are stolen away from their parents
and trafficked to other parents,
who have not been able
to have a second child
through the birth process,
so they want to traffic a
child into their families.
In our place, a lot of people
have lost girls.
I have two girls.
I don't believe in
son preference.
This is my own child.
How can I abandon her just
because she is a girl?
That's impossible,
completely impossible.
After my child was lost, I swore
that I would never give up
until I found my child.
In our area, all the missing
children are girls.
Most families want brides
for their sons,
but few families want
daughters for themselves.
Because of this, hundreds of
thousands of baby girls
are orphaned or abandoned
in China each year.
That day, I was going to the
Lontou Street to buy chickens.
I went walking along the river.
My son told me that
the water had risen.
I found some wooden
boxes along the river.
I picked one up and left.
I didn't notice till on the way
back that there was a baby
wrapped in some rugged
cloth in the box.
I wondered immediately,
is this baby alive or dead.
I decided not to buy chickens any more.
I need to take a look at this baby.
I opened the box to see if
the baby was still alive.
I thought if the baby was dead,
forget it, I would just throw it away.
I told my husband what happened.
He was sleeping, but hearing I
brought back an abandoned baby,
he jumped up in anger and
told me I can't take the baby.
Doctors cut the baby's umbilical
cord and washed her off.
She looked pretty small
and she was a newborn
because she still had her
uncut umbilical cord.
She was wrapped and put in
a box.
I asked the security guard;
he didn't want to take it either.
He said just throw the
baby into the trashcan.
I scolded him that he was
picked up from a trashcan.
He said how can I
work if I take the baby.
They asked me who wanted to
take this baby.
I said, I picked this baby
up, I would raise her.
I am the kind of person who
takes all kinds of responsibilities.
When I see lost chickens,
I bring them home, too.
I thought I will raise her
up, that's it,
I won't give her to anyone
else, not even the police!
If they come and take the baby
I will kill myself in front of them.
When my mom first brought
Meihui home,
I did not think about
adopting her, yet.
So, my mom took care of
her at first.
At the time, I thought I just
needed to sign my name.
It is just an adoption, why
I did not think too much.
The more I thought about
it and asked people,
the harder the decision became.
My family and friends said,
you don't have a high salary,
you don't have a boyfriend
yet, and your parents are old,
your mom has health problems
and she doesn't have a job.
If you sign the papers, you can't
even have your own child!
It will bring you trouble
and make it more difficult
to find a husband!
Even my mom would often say a son
can take care of you when they are old.
Daughters are water poured out.
These are our local idioms.
After you get married you
belong to your husband's family,
no longer a member of
our family.
So when a woman gets married,
her family loses a member.
This is how people think.
My mom told me these things before,
but she doesn't believe in these values.
When she picked Meihui up,
she didn't think about
it's a boy or girl.
She just felt compassion for
her and brought her home.
Because it's a girl.
If it was a boy, they would
not have abandoned her,
they would have kept it.
This baby exceeds the
birth limit, and it's a girl,
that's why they abandoned
it and didn't want it.
I heard that there's a family
in Yuxi village who had a girl.
They killed it on the doorsill.
It's too horrifying!
No one wants girls.
Some people would regard
allowing two children
instead of one child
as being a solution to
the One-Child policy.
That is not a solution.
The issue is not how
many children
the government allows
a woman to have.
The issue is the coercion with
which they enforce the number.
So whether it's one child
or two children,
a woman is still going to have
to have a pregnancy permit,
and a birth permit
to have that child.
Whether it's their first
child or their second child,
or they may be subject
to forced abortion.
Just reversing the One-Child policy
will only mitigate the problem,
but the long-term solution
is for some parents
to be okay with
not having a son.
Chinese need to forsake Confucius
son-preference culture
and embrace the fact that
girls are as good as boys
and women are as
valuable as men.
Son preference comes from
cultures that devalue women.
They feel that women are
just not as good as men.
And women have been beaten
down by these cultures;
and these cultures have been devaluing
women for thousands of years,
can't always stand up
for themselves.
And that's why women who come
from cultures that value women,
where women are equal,
we need to stand
up for our sisters
because they cannot stand
up for themselves.
It is a violation of human rights
when babies are denied food
or drowned or suffocated
or their spines broken simply
because they are born girls.
It is a violation of
human rights
when women are doused
with gasoline,
set on fire and burned to death
because their marriage dowries
are deemed too small.
It is a violation of
human rights
when women are denied the right
to plan their own families;
and that includes being
forced to have abortions
or being sterilized against
their will.
If there is one message that echoes
forth from this conference,
let it be that human
rights are women's rights
and women's rights
are human rights -
once and for all.
Sadly, since this address
in 1995,
very little has been done
either socially or politically
to stop gendercide
around the world.
The right to life is what
defines us as humans.
That as a human being your
most fundamental right
is the right to life
and existence.
And it's unconditional;
you don't ever justify why
someone has the right to live,
like we do now with women.
So there are sites that say,
oh, but if you kill women,
who will have the babies?
Well, like I said before,
that I've argued -
does that mean that you kill women
who don't want to have babies?
Women are so beautiful, why
do you want to kill them?
Well, if they are ugly
do you then kill them?
The right to life is an
uncontested right.
But the fact that we have to justify
why women shouldn't be killed -
that is a dehumanizing
argument in itself.
So I think that... somewhere
there has been a huge shift
in the female genocide from
the human's rights basis.
So we are treating
women like pandas
or any other wildlife animal
that is going extinct
and that we should raise
for the conservation.
So when you say something,
like you show a picture
of a little girl
and you say save the girl child
and you have many people
say, yes, save the girl child,
who are we addressing?
Who are we talking to?
Who is going to
save the girl child
and whom are you going to
save the girl child from?
You do not get to this scale
without much of the population
being involved in some way.
Either it's happening in the
families in terms of feticide,
dowry violence,
or they're involved in
the police or courts,
or their turning a blind eye
when it happens in
their neighbors house
Everybody is involved,
perpetuating a system,
turning a blind eye,
aligning for it to continue.
So it is when you say,
"Save the girl child,"
nobody is listening.
Who's listening?
When you turn the
mirror around
and unless we take a good,
hard look into our psyche,
into our moral conscience and
you realize that as a nation
we have need for examination,
for shame and for change,
for actually confronting
it within ourselves,
nothing is going to change.
There needs to be an assumption
of responsibility,
that there is something that we
have allowed to go horribly wrong
and we are each
responsible for it.
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