Based on the poet Sapphire’s 1995 novel titled Push, the film adaptation emerged. Also originally called Push and shown at Sundance and other film festivals, it is the movie based on a book with content that initially frightened Oprah’s book club readers when she brought it to the table. Despite how far we’ve come in America, despite having our first black president, despite same-sex marriages hitting the controversial political plate, victims of sexual abuse remain chained downstairs in the darkest basements. While I may sound extremely dramatic in comparing the scars from the whip-lashes of sexual molestation to the worst kind of beatings endured in the camps, prisons, or asylums during earlier times, I believe that it is justified. And I believe that revealing the gritty and horrifying realness of it via artwork such as films, novels, paintings, etc…is the key that will open the basement’s door and let the light in. In simpler (less melodramatic terms), I believe it is what will lead to change. Because goddammit, something has to change when it comes to sexual molestation of a minor.
The topic that goes hand in hand with ’silence,’ more than any other tragedy in the world is the harsh truth about sexual abuse. Calling it an “elephant in the room” is for the people who can’t really hear the way it REALLY is. An elephant in the room is a G-rated version of explaining the unexplainable…the unfathomable. It is why sexual abuse is statistically happening to every third child (based on the few that report it), yet little is done to protect these helpless children. Who knows how many more there are?
Listen, I could go on forever on a topic that is so close to me, personally. It is why I strongly applaud films like Hounddog, Black Snake Moan, Lolita (starring my best friend, Dominique Swain), Precious, and others…These films are important…more than you know. The popular line calling silence “deadly” is very accurate. From all the well-written memoirs by brave women (young and old) who unleash their personal truths about the darkest days of their lives, I learned one common lesson: To own a past you wish never existed is to heal. And to hide it is to die….painfully and slowly.
“There are times when I’ve felt so violated [by criticism of my art] that sometimes I’ve wished I hadn’t said something,” Push novelist, Sapphire admits. “But the price of silence is great, you know? The price of silence is suicide [or] a lifetime of depression.”
Tomorrow….How Push became Precious….
Hollywood Woman, a daily column celebrating women in film begins with a five part series about sexual abuse as seen in the movie, Precious. This is the second edition.
It is written “For Precious Girls Everywhere.”