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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


May 20, 2002 – If you missed seeing Lilibet Foster's "Operation Fine Girl: Rape Used as a Weapon of War in Sierra Leone" Sunday night on TV2, you'll have another chance at 8 p.m. Monday. It is also scheduled to air at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Foster, the daughter of real estate executive John Foster and his wife, Claire, spent much of her youth on St. Thomas. She is an independent film producer in New York today, and in this documentay she explores the issues surrounding rape and sexual violence against women, teens and young girls during the Sierra Leone civil war.
The documentary is presented from the victims' point of view, telling the personal stories of a young mother, a teacher, a teenage prostitute and a child solder. Each was abducted and held against her will by rebels fighting to control the diamond trade and take over the government.
"It really gives an inside view of the life of a rape victim. There's helplessness and hopelessness," said Michal Rhymer, executive director of Family Resource Center on St. Thomas. Speaking of the loss of innocence that comes with the rape of young children, she said the girls are not given time to grow up.
Rhymer has, along with TV2 assistant programming director Carol Fava, expended a lot of effort in promoting the documentary. She said the faces of some of the girls on film look like the faces of her friends.
Foster was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 for "Speaking in Strings," a feature documentary about violin virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. She has also produced and directed numerous other pieces. "Operation Fine Girl" was produced in collaboration with Peter Gabriel's human rights organization Witness, with and Binta Mansaray of Sierra Leone. It was originally aired on Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen-TV network.
Fava said that it was scheduled to air Sunday at 8 p.m., but a mechanical glitch in the automated programming put it on at 9 p.m. instead. "We got 35 calls," she said. The documentary and rape issues in the Virgin Islands will be the subject of Tuesday's "Talk 2" program, which airs at 8 p.m.

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