According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “As many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. However, because child sexual abuse is by its very nature secretive, many of these cases are never reported. Approximately three quarters of reported cases of child sexual abuse are committed by family members or other individuals who are considered part of the victim’s ‘circle of trust.’”
Jacqueline Ann Finch, a survivor of child sexual abuse, is raising awareness about the repercussions of sexual molestation, and choosing between a destructive lifestyle and salvation, both for herself and the man she loves, in a riveting short film called, “The Seedling,” which she wrote, co-produced and stars in.
The British-born actress/producer said she is available for special screenings of her film with a Q-and-A session to follow and a discussion of the issues it highlights, including an open forum on the need to shed more light on sexual abuse, incest and healing. The film’s running time is 16 minutes and 38 seconds. But her production company, Illumination Light Productions, is seeking funding to extend the short feature into a full-length film.
“My producing partner, Dwayne C. Ladd, felt strongly about making the full-length version of ‘The Seedling,’ so hopefully thousands more could see the film in theaters,” Finch said. “We are about to launch ‘The Seedling’ project on Kick-starter, (a new way to fund projects online) to raise the funding for the full-length version.”
“The Seedling” was inspired by the writer’s own journey leading to healing and her desire to shed greater light on what she calls “the hidden world of generational incest and the abuse of minors.”
“I created the storyline and most of the script about 2 1/2 years ago,” Finch explained. “I am a member of the British Academy of Film and TV arts as well as the Screen Actor’s Guild. I attended a short film workshop, which is where I initiated the concept for the film. Once I had chosen a director I worked with him to polish the script and add additional scenes. It is a fictional work and not based on anyone.
Finch said her aim is to raise the topic of incest and sexual abuse to new heights, “which is still very taboo in our society,” she added. “Many people came up to me and shared their own personal stories. We were invited last summer to screen ‘The Seedling’ at the Los Angeles-Indie Music/Film International Summit. Audiences told us they found the film powerful and moving.
“My own background is that I am a survivor of incest. As a little girl — growing up, like so many, I had a history of molestation, mostly by people I knew. The intense emotional and psychological damage, and the loss of innocence it causes in any girl or boy, affects their entire lives as well as their ability to have trusting, loving, healthy relationships.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, “Victims of sexual assault are: 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Although many children who have experienced sexual abuse show behavioral and emotional changes, many others do not. It is therefore critical to focus not only on detection, but also on prevention and communication — by teaching children about body safety and healthy body boundaries, and by encouraging open communication about sexual matters.
“I think its time for the conversation and I believe as we tried to tell in our film, these types of abuses are a doorway for demonic forces that would rip our loving families apart on a generational level, repeating the abuses from one generation to another,” Finch said. “But I also believe there needs to be a conversation with adult survivors and perpetrators.”
The Seedling, which was entered in the Cannes International Film Festival in 2010, has made it easier for some survivors of sexual abuse to continue a conversation about this delicate subject matter.
“Anyone can assist in our mission by donating to The Seedling, which, under the Filmmakers Alliance, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to raise funds for our endorsing charities and for the furthering of our mission,” Finch said. “Illumination Light Productions supports filmmaking that is both spiritual and revolutionary. We support films with meaningful content and pledge 10 percent of ILP profits to charities that help the human condition. We are dedicated to making films of a transforming and uplifting quality with the specific intention of contributing to the human condition in a positive manner.”
For further information or to donate toward the full-length version of The Seedling, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1298557663/1331436854?token=e6ae3d90 or www.theseedlingmovie.com where the trailer can be viewed and the short film is available.
If you know or suspect that a child is being or has been sexually abused, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD. If you are a victim or survivor of sexual abuse and need support, call the RAINN hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.