A modest new documentary from the West African nation of Cameroon
has been getting rave reviews at some of the world's most prestigious
film festivals. It's an unlikely story of how two women are taking on
crimes against women, often fighting deeply entrenched attitudes and a
male-dominated power structure to find justice.
The film Sisters in Law
follows the saga of lawyer Vera Ngassa and judge Beatrice Ntuba as they
prosecute crimes against women and girls — crimes long ignored by
Cameroon's patriarchal society.
In one scene, Ngassa
cross-examines a husband who defends beating his wife because, he says,
she committed adultery. After a thorough brow-beating of the husband,
she concludes that neither she nor the husband is convinced that any
adultery took place at all.
In another key scene, Ngassa is the
prosecutor and Ntuba in the trial of a man accused of raping a
10-year-old girl. It's a harrowing experience for the girl, who must
stand just feet away from the man accused of tying her down and
sexually assaulting her.