Escape From ISIS has had an incredible reaction from policy-makers, press and public alike.
I’m so grateful to the hundreds of people who have got in touch to express their appreciation of the film and ask what they can do to help the women and girls who suffer so much at the Islamic State’s hands.
This post will record some other highlights of the film’s impact.
It received phenomenal press coverage with double page spreads in the Mail, the Mail on Sunday, the Times and the Sun, and feature pieces in Broadcast magazine, the Telegraph, the Radio Times, Huffpost, Buzzfeed, Grazia and The Debrief. I also did live interviews with MSNBC, Radio Five Live and a number of radio stations across America.
Channel 4 bravely chose to show the film no later than 10pm, despite the horrific nature of some of the content, which earned the film an audience of 1.1m, more than the Dispatches strand normally averages. On the night, public figures as diverse as Bianca Jagger, Baroness Warsi and Dermot O’Leary tweeted about the film. “Christ, that was an incredible piece of television,” he said.
The week after broadcast, Prime Minister David Cameron cited the film in his major policy speech on ISIS, noting that the Channel 4 documentary had shown the true nature of an organisation, “whose men rape underage girls and stone innocent women to death.”
I was also invited to testify about the film’s key findings at a special hearing on ‘Women Under ISIS’ at the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the US House of Representatives in Washington DC, on 29 July 2015. You can watch the full hearing, including my testimony on my Vimeo channel.
The Chairman of the Committee wrote to me afterwards saying, “our members were deeply moved by your efforts to document these atrocities [against women] in your film” and that the testimony would be valuable to the Committee’s planning on “how best to counter this terrorist organisation and alleviate the unbelievable suffering it has brought upon the region.”
Channel 4 also held a special screening of the film at Bafta, chaired by Channel 4 News foreign editor Lindsey Hilsum. The Head of the UK government’s ISIS Taskforce, Dan Chugg attended, as did the senior FCO adviser on the UK’s National Security Council. You can watch the Q&A that followed the screening also on my Vimeo channel.
Among the hundreds of people who have volunteered their help are a psychologist offering her services to traumatised victims for free, communications equipment for the rescue teams offered by a security consultant and a famous Hollywood actor who has donated $5,000 to a charity working with female survivors of the ISIS attack.
It stands in great contrast to the inhumanity of the ISIS terrorists who inflicted so much damage on the women and girls in the film. So thank you all.