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Facebook a Stage for AIDS Rape Documentary

September 28, 2010

On Tuesday, filmmaker Michealene Risley will be interviewed at the Facebook Live studio in Palo Alto, Calif., just hours before her documentary on rape and AIDS myths debuts in more than 100 US theatres.

"Tapestries of Hope" spotlights the myth, common in Zimbabwe, that sex with a virgin cures HIV/AIDS. The film was inspired by the work of human rights activist Betty Makoni and the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe.

While filming in Zimbabwe in 2007 -- though she had secured permission from the Ministry of Information -- Risley was arrested. Risley was jailed and questioned; strangely, her interrogators' questions focused more on life in the United States than the movie project, she said. A producer from the documentary team posted word on Facebook that Risley had been arrested.

A news reporter who had been following the documentary team on Facebook saw the news and notified a contact in the US government, who apparently helped secure Risley's release. The team returned to the United States, and the film was finished early this year.

During the interview, Risley will field questions sent in by any of the social network's more than 500 million members worldwide. Following the chat, she is scheduled to speak with Facebook employees. "Facebook has been a big partner since they saved my life," Risley said.

"It's become common for someone to find a long-lost friend, former love or missing pet on Facebook, but this is the first time we heard of Facebook getting someone released from jail," said Marian Heath, who works on policy and safety initiatives for the company.

For more information about the documentary, visit and the "Tapestries of Hope" page on Facebook.

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Excerpted from:
Agence France Presse

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