Vanity Fair’s upcoming cover article had this to say about Angelina Jolie and her newest film about genocide in Cambodia:

To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.

In what alternate reality was this deemed an appropriate way for children to “audition” for a part?

The manipulation and dishonesty involved with these innocent children is nothing short of abusive.

Are we actually okay with this scenario? Where do we draw the line? When will we take a stand for the most vulnerable among us? When will we stop allowing this type of trauma to be seen as a “normal” process?

How about today? How about right now?

How about we stop teaching the lesson that children are property to be used for whatever purpose the adults in charge have decided? How about if today, we stand up for the kids in our own lives by not allowing them to be bullied or manipulated by the other adults in our circle? How about if we set an example of peaceful, honest, kind interactions with the other humans (big and small) in our lives? That would be a wonderful beginning for change.

Stand up. Speak out. Abuse stops when WE stop it, and not one minute before.


Laura Fogarty
Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Authors express their own opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Stop Abuse Campaign.