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Abuse video wins award

(June 8, 2000, Gazette)

A scene from the video Mending the Invisible Wound.

By Sharon Gray

An experimental documentary on sexual abuse has received an Award of Merit from the Association for Media and Technology in Education in Canada (AMTEC).

Mending the Invisible Wound was directed by Pam Hall, formerly artist-in-residence at the medical school and now adjunct professor in medical humanities in the Faculty of Medicine.

The idea for the film originated with Dr. Michelle Young when she was doing a family medicine residency at Memorial. She got together with fellow family medicine resident Dr. Angela Rivers and filmmaker Pam Hall to explore the topic of childhood sexual abuse. The result is a 17 minute video made at no cost except for $500 from the Faculty of Medicine to assist with final editing.

Mending the Invisible Wound uses volunteers to bring to life the trauma and lasting physical effects of childhood sexual abuse. There is also a look inside a doctor’s office as he raises the issue of sexual abuse and tries to start the healing process. That particular role was played by neurologist Dr. William Pryse-Phillips.

“This film is a very powerfully written piece which has a tremendous impact in a short period of time,” said Dr. Pryse-Phillips. “It is extremely well put together and very insightful.”

Dr. Pryse-Phillips said that prior to his involvement in the film, he had not been fully aware of the actual amount of angst and grief suffered by people who suffered childhood sexual abuse. Since the video was made, he has dealt with one patient sent to him for recurrent headaches who turned out to be a survivor of sexual abuse and has since been referred for therapy.

Mending the Invisible Wound is intended for an audience of family medicine physicians and medical students at all levels of their training. It is available at a cost of $19.95 plus HST by contacting Fred Hollingshurst at the Centre for Academic and Media Services (CAMS) at (709) 737-7540 or by e-mail fholling@mun.ca

The video was made with production assistance from CAMS, Health Sciences Information and Media Service and the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Cooperative.