- Betty Makoni in “Tapestries of Hope”
Michealene Cristini Risley was arrested in Zimbabwe on espionage charges in 2007 while waiting outside the house of human rights activist Betty Makoni.
Risley and her assistant were held for two days with no food and water and threatened with torture or death before Risley bribed her way to freedom and fled the country.
Risley was in Zimbabwe to document the work of Makoni’s Girl Child Network, which supports victims of that country’s prevailing “virgin myth“—that raping a virgin cures HIV and AIDS—a notion that has led to attacks on thousands of girls.
Risley’s film about Makoni and her work, Tapestries of Hope, screens Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Landmark Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St., and Lake Theater, 1020 Lake St., Oak Park. Volunteers at the screenings will circulate a petition in favor of the International Violence Against Woman Act, and solicit donations for Risley’s California nonprofit Freshwater Haven.