Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

Olivia Zinnah, Subject Of Upcoming Child Rape Documentary, Dies

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 8, 2013 at 6:21PM

Sad to report on the death of Olivia Zinnah, the young girl who is at the center of an upcoming feature documentary I profiled in August, 2012 - titled Small Small Thing - directed by Jessica Vale.
13
Small Small Thing

Sad to report on the death of Olivia Zinnahthe young girl who is at the center of an upcoming feature documentary I profiled in August, 2012 - titled Small Small Thing - directed by Jessica Vale.

The film, 3+ years in the making, is complete, and has been submitted to several film festivals, and should world premiere some time this spring.

It tells the story of a mother and daughter in Liberia, who find themselves fighting tradition, when it is discovered that the 9-year-old had been brutally raped 2 years prior. 

The film begins with the discovery of a nine year old girl in the hospital, severely malnourished and handicapped. Believing the cause of her injuries to be witchcraft, the village elders (and her mother) hide the girl for 2 years as her condition worsens. A visiting medical team draws the conclusion that she was brutally raped. The film follows the journey over the course of the next 9 months, as the life of this little girl and her mother, shunned from their village for seeking outside help.

I received notification this afternoon from director Jessica Vale, alerting me to Olivia Zinnah's passing on December 20, as a result of the long-term complications of the brutal rape she suffered at age 7.

She was 13 at the time of her death.

The unfortunate further details from the email I received follow:

Vale discovered Olivia at JFK Memorial Hospital in January 2009 along with a visiting husband-and-wife OBGYN team from New York City – Ann Marie Beddoe and Peter Dottino. Olivia was suffering from a severe fistula, infections and malnutrition. She was gravely ill and her condition had been deteriorating for two years. Liberian surgeons initially attempted to fix the fistula but botched the surgery. Her mother, Bindu, did not originally seek medical attention for the girl because their remote tribal village diagnosed her as a victim of “witchcraft.” After two years, Olivia was brought to JFK where Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, head of OBGYN, determined Olivia's injuries were a result of rape. At that time, Olivia named her cousin John as her attacker, who was in his twenties at the time of the incident. The family and John denied the accusations, shunning Olivia and Bindu from their village, forcing them to live at the hospital. American surgeons operated on Olivia, saving her life. They gave her a colostomy bag and determined the fistula was so severe it could not be fixed until she was 16 years old and her body had matured. Olivia and Bindu were then sent to live at a safe home for rape victims [...] In December 2012, Olivia was rushed to JFK with a bowel obstruction. Dr. Jallah was unable to get approval for emergency surgery. Olivia's condition worsened and U.S. doctors insisted Olivia receive an operation to save her life. Days later, Olivia finally undergoes a colostomy surgery, but it was too late. She died two days later at 13.

In a statement, Vale said:

“I hope the release of ‘Smallsmall Thing’ will pressure the Liberian government to find Olivia's accused rapist and bring him to trial... Olivia was Liberian, but her voice is global. How many times, in how many countries does this have to happen for people to pay attention?”

According to UN statistics in 2012, rape is still the #1 crime in Liberia, despite President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's efforts (and Nobel Peace Prize); the majority of the victims are said to be children - some as young as 2 years old.

Small Small Thing is the result of investigations by the filmmakers, revealing what they call "an intricate web of corruption, adventure and hope."

There's a lot more to this story, so feel free to visit the project's website HERE.

As noted, the film has been submitted to festivals all over the world, and will debut on the festival circuit this year.


Shadow & ActNewsletter