Stolen Daughters is a 2018 HBO documentary on the Chibok girls who were stolen from their school dormitory in Nigeria by the Boko Haram Islaamic terrorist group that operates out of Maidugiri, Nigeria.
2 out of 10 stars. Most of HBO’s documentaries are tasteful. This one is not. This two hour film could and should have been condensed into less than an hour. Much of the film is invasive to these victims. Much of it is tasteless. I feel like slapping the cameramen and telling them “shame on you”.
In 2017, 276 girls attending the school in Chibok, Nigeria are kidnapped at gunpoint by the Boko Haram Islaamic terrorist group that operates out of Maidugiri in Northern Nigeria. The government knows where these men live and refuses to arrest them. The school is burned. Fifty-seven girls escape. The rest are kept and dragged to northern Nigeria to a forest. There they are repeatedly beaten and raped and forced into marriage with the Boko Haram soldiers. Some girls are taken along in raids to kidnap other girls.
For months, nothing happens after the raid. The government doesn’t look for them or acknowledge them. Then Michelle Obama goes public with what’s happened and suddenly the Nigerian government negotiates for the girls to be released. Eventually 103 girls are released. The government tells them not to discuss what happened to them in the forest or the girls still in captivity will be harmed. They actually say this publicly on camera.
Some of the girls defy the order and sneak their diaries to the camera crew. They’re translated and parts of them are divulged on film. The Boko Haram abduct thousands of girls each girl. Most of the time they murder their families in order to abduct them.
One survivor tells the story of a 14 year old girl she helped the Boko Haram kidnap. They murdered her entire family who tried stopping them, then ten men gang raped her for a day and left her covered in blood and unable to walk. She died the following day.
Some of the girls had amputated limbs from poor medical care and from being injured in bombings by the government on the Boko Haram camp.
I think one of the most deeply disturbing stories came from a girl named Margret. When she saw the Boko Haram break into the school she immediately called her brother Phillip. He asked her why she was calling him, she told him, then he hung up on her. :0 I was so shocked, I was speechless. And that feeling is pervasive throughout this film. Most of these girls live in a patriarchal society where women and girls have no value at all. That her brother couldn’t be bothered to be woken in the middle of the night to call the government or police and get help for his sister and 275 other girls is a travesty.
Several of the girls are infected with HIV and one of those girls had a baby who was also infected. Her baby died.
In 2017, the Boko Haram used 101 abducted girls as suicide bombers.
One girls was abducted when she was 15, locked in a cage for four months, then forced to marry an old man. She escaped when she was two months pregnant and came across two young boys who’d also been kidnapped. They followed her, calling her Mummy, so she adopted them.
At the end of the documentary, most of the girls go to the American University of Nigeria to attend school. The fifty-seven girls who escaped that night have already been attending the university for two years. They speak English. They read and write. They have pride. And they are independent.
2 out of 10 stars. This was poorly done and shamefully so. The photograph above was published by Boko Haram showing a group of their stolen brides.