No one asked her what happened. No one did anything for her. And so, he struck again.

What an incredibly painful story. But thank goodness she's strong enough to share it.

In November 2014, actress Teri Hatcher spoke at the U.N. to help commemorate the International Day to End Violence against Women.

Her speech was heartbreaking, moving, and an irrefutable call to arms:

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The one part of Teri's speech that was particularly inspiring came towards the end (emphasis added):


"I am simply one of three women who is forced to accept violence as a part of their life story. I am one of three women who for the rest of her life battles the voice in her head that accepts blame for abuse, a voice that is antithetical to self-esteem, self-worth, and happiness.

This is a statistic that has to change. One in three women can no longer have to face a stigma and a fear that prevent them from seeking help. One in three women should NOT feel afraid to come forward and report it, as they so often do, because they think they will not be believed or taken seriously. When society shames the victim by asking, 'Why did you stay?' or 'Why didn't you say something?' instead of asking, 'Why did HE abuse her?' we just continue to foster a society where the abusers continue to abuse. That one in three woman could be your mother, your daughter, or your sister. It is unacceptable to not actively and passionately work to change a society in which ANY woman is violated, injured, tortured, and killed. Everyone everywhere has a responsibility to end violence.

I am one in three, and I WILL BE the one who yells from the rooftops until those numbers change. Until every woman who has faced abuse feels less alone and safe enough to find the courage to have her own voice, until violence against women is no longer a part of any woman's story, silence will not be a part of mine."



It's nearly impossible not to be moved by Teri's words. What she dealt with feels, on some level, so unimaginable. Unfortunately, it was all too real for her and the other victim(s) of her abuser.

We, like Teri, must not accept these statistics. We must amplify the voices of those who are ready speak up, so that every human being who needs to tell their story has the encouragement and impact they deserve.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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