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Review: On Her Shoulders
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker Alexandria Bombach shares the story of a young Yazidi female, a genocide and sexual slavery survivor, now an activist fighting to bring ISIS commanders to justice in Bombach's latest documentary On Her Shoulders.  At the age of 23-years-old, Nadia Murad, first gave her testimony before the U.N. Security Council. Her story was heard around the world.

Nadia, a member of the Yazidis community, a religious minority in Northern Iraq became a stench in the eye of the ISIS organization over religious differences. It was on August 3, 2014, ISIS began a genocide campaign on the Yazidis. Bombach explains, "An estimated 5,000 people were killed in the weeks that followed, and over 7,000 women and children were captured to become sex slaves and child soldiers." She continues, "Nadia was captured on the same day that ISIS killed her mother and six brothers. Eighteen members of her family were either killed or enslaved."

Nadia miraculously escapes. Today it's her mission to tell the world of the horrific atrocities that plague her country to this day. Her mission is to fight against inhumane treatment knowing that vibrant cultures around the world will no longer exist if perpetrators, such as ISIS, are not stopped. Nadia pleads for help.

Nadia never thought she'd be in a situation where her voice would be the one speaking for her people--a minority struggling to be heard. She was an ordinary young girl with aspirations to own a beauty salon in her village. Those hopes and dreams are put aside for now because she fights for a higher cause.

Bombach takes the film audience on Nadia's exhausting journey spreading the gospel of freedom, dignity and the impact of human suffering. She shares her personal pain from refugee camps to media interviews. Nadia continues to speak out against genocide, sexual slavery and advancement of building an army of child soldiers to anyone who will listen. To her dismay as she pleads for action from high government officials, she is devastated by the insensitivity of those interviewing her who only wants to hear the story of how she was raped.

At times losing hope that her story will make a difference for change, Nadia perseveres. She continues on the warpath to bring criminals to justice and to navigate the bureaucracy that will one day make her mission a reality.