Wannabeaudre is back at it with another sexual assault article. Fun stuff, right? How can I not write another piece while April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Also, as long as 1 in 5 women are getting assaulted throughout their lifetime, I am not staying silent. Anyways, I am going to be highlighting four documentaries about sexual assault that you should check out this month to educate yourself and raise awareness. S/O to ProChoicePrincess and her article on abortion films for the inspiration.
The Hunting Ground is one of the most groundbreaking documentaries to happen here in America. You may have (probably have) heard about it. Lady Gaga wrote and released the song, Til It Happens to You, for it. This documentary exposes sexual assault on college campuses and how universities poorly respond. It follows multiple stories of different survivors, including Erica Kinsman’s account of being raped by FSU’s quarterback Jameis Winston. It is one of the best documentaries I have seen tackling this epidemic on college campuses. JMU makes an appearance from our time on The Daily Show. UVA, UNC, Harvard, and many other “prestigious” universities are put under fire. The main women, Annie E. Clark and Andrea Pino, are two former UNC students who brought Title IX lawsuits against the university after their sexual assaults. This documentary shows the struggles, layers of Title IX, and frankly, the bullshit universities try and do to cover up sexual assault on their campuses.
It Happened Here is another documentary focusing on college sexual assault cases. It’s a little different from The Hunting Ground because it focuses on five survivors who, again, were attempted to be silenced by their universities, but used their experience to ignite social change on their campuses. Each one did an act of social activism in the form of open letters to their university, protests, and other ways to speak out. Three out of the five students are from UConn and the documentary follows them as they bring a Title IX lawsuit against the university as well as testifying to the State Legislature of Connecticut to draft new legislation to protect students. This is a more intimate documentary released a year before The Hunting Ground. Another great documentary to get yourself empowered.
This documentary follows Miss Israel Linor Abargil who ended up winning the 1998 Miss World competition just six weeks after being violently abducted, raped, and stabbed in Milan, Italy. When she won the competition she vowed she would use her platform to fight for justice for rape victims. The documentary follows her own case as well as her activism throughout the world to shed light on rape globally. She encourages other survivors to come forward and to tell their stories. This documentary is yes, a little dated, but gives a more international look at rape and sexual assault. It also shows how a person thrusted into the spotlight can use their platform for social and political activism.
This final documentary, India’s Daughter, is probably one of the hardest to watch. It is about the Dehli gang rape of medical student, Jyoti Singh, that occurred on December 16, 2012. Jyoti Singh ended up dying from the injuries she sustained from the gang rape in the hospital. This case caused an uproar of protest from Indian citizens, mostly women, criticizing India’s government for not providing enough protection to women. International media covered it, but only after persistent protests. The film interviews Singh’s family and lawyers as well as one of the rapists while he was in jail and the rapists’ lawyers. This documentary was banned in India and is still banned in the country despite various attempts to lift the ban. This is a heart wrenching film that shows the complexities of a country with strong culture, tradition, and an oppressive government. Luckily for you, it is available on Netflix.
There you have it! Four incredible, challenging, and eye-opening documentaries (which are all available on Netflix!!!!) to help raise awareness of sexual assault. This month, I hope you take advantage of educating yourself and speaking out on the injustice of sexual assault. Let’s change policies and advocate for victims to end rape culture and change the statistics.