A woman’s journey to heal and confront generational trauma in “Silent Beauty” on INDEPENDENT LENS – May 15 at 10 pm

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Filmmaker Jasmín Mara López Documents Her Story as a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Confronting Her Family and Encouraging Others to Face Painful Truths


For 24 years, journalist and filmmaker Jasmín Mara López suffered in silence as she endured sexual abuse by her grandfather, a Baptist minister. After disclosing her abuse to family members, López discovers she is not alone. In her poignant film “Silent Beauty,” the New Orleans-based director (“Deadly Divide: Migrant Death on the Border”) aims to end the cycle by confronting her family’s burdened history and addressing our society’s default to silence.

Jasmin Mara López’s mother recounting the past.
Jasmin Mara López’s mother recounting the past.

“Silent Beauty” premieres on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning documentary anthology series INDEPENDENT LENS on Monday, May 15, at 10:00 p.m. The film will also be available to stream on the PBS app.

Through family videos found in her grandfather’s archive, the film features footage that appears joyful on the surface, juxtaposed with voiceover narration that shares the complexities of her childhood. The revealing conversations and brave confrontations help catalyze the healing process for both herself and fellow survivors within the family.

A mosaic rooted in strength and empathy, “Silent Beauty” is a personal narrative that speaks to López’s experience growing up in a religious family with roots in Mexico and the United States, and explores the complicated journey for López and her family as they reckon with their trauma, fight for justice against their abuser, and find beauty in the healing process.

Jasmin Mara López on a journey in a car
Jasmin Mara López on a journey.

The deeply personal and cathartic film also tackles the stigma surrounding childhood sexual abuse, often exacerbated by culture, religion, and patriarchal structures, which can deter survivors from acknowledging their trauma. López encourages viewers to open a dialogue about these difficult topics and inspire survivors to come forward in order to break the generational pattern of abuse.

“My family and I made this film in solidarity with other survivors. To encourage healing but also acknowledge that every survivor has their own path to it. This was an artistic practice that contributed to my own recovery, and that of so many other survivors we met along the way,” said López. “Child sexual abuse is a public health issue that affects individuals and their families for the rest of their lives. My hope is that ‘Silent Beauty’ will reach them.”

“Silent Beauty” received Open Call funding from ITVS as well as funding from Black Public Media and Latino Public Broadcasting.

Visit the “Silent Beauty” page on INDEPENDENT LENS to learn more about the film.