Hot Docs 2022: “Silent Beauty”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sexual abuse is like a pandemic on its own that if not treated by authorities in time, can spread to a dangerous level. However it’s the same authorities that most of the time either overlook the issue or don’t believe the victims. Because what is worse? Being kept in silence or being ashamed in front of the officers and the family members that will know all the details of the devastating experience with no one being held accountable in the end?

I can’t begin to describe how impactful “Silent Beauty” is. Directed by Jasmin Mara López in her autobiographical documentary film, it opens up the pandora’s box of a dark past that screams to never come out into the light. It’s about the childhood trauma of sexual abuse by her grandfather who, as a common sign for all perpetrators – never admits to the guilt. After a long and traumatizing twenty-four years of silence, three women reveal their heartbreaking experience perpetrated by the Baptist Minister – a man who was like a father figure in the open space but, sadly, a child molester behind closed doors.

Right from the beginning, the filmmaker does not shy away from her confession, as subtly and slowly she reveals the main premise of the film. The cultural silence against the sexual abuse is well known, but what is the price that needs to be paid for the survivor to move on with their broken life? It’s one of the most important questions the story asks, as it educates and shows the viewers why we should not ignore our loved ones when they come forward. And that’s why “Silent Beauty” is so thought-provoking because it explores the theme of family betrayal, abuse and silence which, if treated properly from the beginning, the number of victims could have been reduced…. But instead, it got multiplied because of the silence that provided validation and approval to the perpetrator to continue abusing without being held accountable.

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