“OPEN YOUR EYES” Short Film Raises Awareness about Child Sexual Abuse
Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Stanford graduate, and passionate advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, Malia Morales, recently unveiled a short film that she directed, produced and funded called “Open Your Eyes”. Morales created this important film as she learned about the rise in child sexual abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns around the world.
Morales wanted to use her personal platform to educate the community about what was happening and how they could help. The film highlights Child Rescue Coalition, a non-profit that provides technology to law enforcement for free to track predators trading child sexual abuse material in unregulated areas of the internet.
“During the peak of the pandemic when we were all confined to our homes spending quality time with our families, I couldn’t help but think of those children who have abusive home environments—abuse that was being exacerbated by the fact that schools were shut down, parents were losing jobs, and money was scarce,” said Morales. “The sexual abuse cases were skyrocketing, and I wanted to do whatever I could to bring this nightmare to light. I felt that if we were all a little more aware of what was happening and knew how to help, we could make a difference.”
Morales’ vision came to fruition after she conducted the heart wrenching research, wrote and rewrote the script countless times to get the appropriate tone of voice and authenticity to truly convey the weight of the message. She worked with a talented group of women to give voice to the words she wrote including Melissa Rycroft, winner of Dancing with the Stars and the Bachelorette; Kitty Carter, a featured guest judge on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team and actress Abigail Klein. Other speakers included Rebecca Coffey, Lead Forensic Interviewer at The Children’s Assessment Center; Amy Dunn, Texas-based attorney, and friends from Morales’ days on the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading squads.
Morales’ mission is for this short film to be shared far and wide so that as many people as possible can be educated on the pandemic of child sexual abuse worldwide. “As a society, we must wake up, acknowledge that this is happening, not be so trusting of others, and empower our kids with as much knowledge as possible around what’s appropriate and what’s not,” said Morales.
“The powerful short film by Malia shines the spotlight on our mission and the work we are doing to keep children safe from sexual abuse,” Carly Yoost, CEO and founder of Child Rescue Coalition said. “We are proud to have her as a supporter using her platform to raise awareness and joining the fight to stop predators from sharing child sexual abuse material on the internet.”
You can view the film below.