GIRL WHO CANNOT SPEAK Film Review – Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse


The Girl Who Cannot Speak uses every moment of its twenty minutes to efficiently convey a message to us, while slowly unwinding the story of four women who experienced sexual abuse as a child. Like a moth to a flame, we are mesmerized by their raw beauty shining from within and drawn into each of their well-articulated stories. As we are hanging on to their words in slow measured sequences, we find ourselves filled with emotions we struggle to identify.


As each woman is compellingly introduced, we are immediately brought into their lives, morphed back to the time when they were innocent, before the abuse occurred. The theme of family bonds, trust and safety threads through each woman’s story as the shared details begin to meld together. Next, we hear about each of their moments of high expectations in feeling the warmth of comfort and hopefulness along with an excitement of feeling special and privileged.

There is a fifth woman, a young teenager, whose interview is interspersed, taking turns with the other four woman who range in age, race and nationality. Each time we glimpse the fifth woman, she is looking down while alternatingly looking directly at the camera, appearing to put forth immense effort to speak. As our hearts join with each of the women, our hearts cry for the fifth silent young teen. At times, her efforts to speak imbue us with such heartache, it feels like physical pain.


While the story of each of the four woman who experienced the abuse unfolds, we hear about the incongruous transition of feeling special and important to being stunned by the betrayal of their perpetrator. Descriptions of feeling frozen, confused and frightened are eloquently shared as each woman was unable to understand and process the abrupt transition of their trusted adult to evil criminal. Detailed sensory events invite us to recognize that these women are not merely recollecting an experience, however, they are describing what they see, hear and feel as they are presently triggered back to being right there in the moment again.

Pleas To Be Heard

The implicit plea we are sensing from each woman is simply to be heard and understood. Each story begins to contribute to one single story, as the fifth interviewee continues to struggle with all of her might to speak. At times, her struggle to speak is superimposed with the other women speaking their truth, as if speaking for her. Step, by step, this fifth woman becomes part of their circle, before ever saying a word. Her pleading eyes and intense emotions scream more loudly than any words could ever convey.

THE GIRL WHO CANNOT SPEAK Reminds That Healing Begins When Stories Are Told

Descriptions of how the abuse affected them in their future relationships, poignantly remind us that we are all affected by someone we know who experienced childhood sexual abuse. We are reminded again that healing begins when stories are told, heard and understood.

SPOILER ALERT: The message of strong community connection and the significance of speaking, being heard and understood is brought home in the final scene. We witness the young teen begin the first step in the healing process by finally being able to speak her name. And we all sigh a breath of relief knowing in our hearts that she is on her way to a positive path of freedom to heal.

Unlike most films about childhood sexual abuse, The Girl Who Cannot Speak does not attempt to sensationalize this topic by trying to shock or entertain us. The directors pared down the interviews, delicately splicing the most effective words to efficiently present their message. The healing value of providing space for others to tell their story, be heard and understood is simple, although not easy. We are left feeling encouraged as we witness one young girl overcome her fear and unfreezing her voice simply because we patiently listened.

If you were not a victim of childhood sexual abuse , chances are high that you have been or currently are in a relationship with someone who has experienced this. Twenty minutes of your time to witness this film will explain years of confusion as to how this can happen, how it affects people and how they can heal. In this writer and trauma specialist’s viewpoint, The Girl Who Cannot Speak will sear your heart with hope. You will not feel despair.  And we can all appreciate any hope that comes our way!

When and Where:

December 6th - 13th
Archlight Cinema
The Dome Entertainment Centre
6360 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90028


Production Team:

Stefano Da Frè - Director & Producer
Laura Pellegrini - Director & Producer
Brandon De Los Reyes - Producer
Nolan Kelly - Coordinating Producer
Krysia Carter Giez - Editor
AJ DeSimone - Cinematographer & Associate Producer

Photos courtesy of THE GIRL WHO CANNOT SPEAK Film

Dr. Renae Lapin
Dr. Renae Lapin

About the Author:

Dr. Renae Lapin, LMFT shares her expertise with readers of Picture this Post from the lens of a trauma specialist, drawing from her forty-year career as a Family Therapist. She has helped thousands of individuals and families achieve their goals towards a more satisfying life with greater fulfillment in relationships and less stress in navigating day to day life. Taking her expertise out of the therapy room and into her written reviews for Picture This Post, Dr. Renae aims to challenge you to think differently, inspire you to feel differently and support you in taking new actions as you move forward in your life.

Traveling is one of Dr. Renae’s greatest passions, having visited almost all of the fifty states in the US and several dozen countries. She also enjoys hiking in National Parks as well as exploring city and rural culture, history, architecture and art.

Dr. Renae Lapin, LMFT currently maintains a private therapy practice in Boca Raton, Florida. See her teen
advice column: “ASK DR RENAE” published monthly in The Parklander Magazine. For more information
about Dr. Renae, view her business facebook @ASKDRRENAE and website Askdrrenae

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