Sexual assault is a major issue that has been the focus of many studies and documentaries in recent years. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, here is a list of documentaries that expose some of the truths behind sexual assault.
“Rape Is...” takes a look at the meaning and consequences of rape. One of the main focuses of the documentary is the cultural conditions that make it the most underreported crime in America. The film also deals with flaws in the legal system that allow sexual assault crimes to slip through the cracks and not receive proper treatment. The documentary works to expand the narrow definition of sexual assault as well as the incorrect thoughts associated with it.
Exploring the complicated issues of the sexual violence committed by relatives, dates or significant others, “Rape Is...” shows that sexual assault can happen to anyone. Looking at rape from a global and historical perspective, the half-hour documentary produced by Cambridge Documentary Films educates viewers on the true cost of sexual assault. "Rape Is..." takes an in-depth look at not only the circumstances and nature of rape itself, but also at the traumatic results the crime leaves in its wake.
"The Hunting Ground"
Focusing on the issue of sexual assault on campus and the difficulties survivors face in seeking justice along with their education, “The Hunting Ground” is an expose of what it means to go through and survive sexual assault on college campuses. "The Hunting Ground" shows the "institutional cover-ups" and the incredible harassment given to survivors who pursue justice.
Director Kirby Dick thinks this documentary shows the problems that victims face with disbelief and blame and how it is a deep-rooted problem in society. He also feels that many more issues to deal with assault need to be discussed. This documentary works to show that more needs to be done to stop the problems that survivors and their families face after going through such a devastating event.
"It Happened Here"
This documentary approaches the problem of sexual assault on campuses with intimate interviews from surviving students. The five survivors interviewed go through and describe their sexual assault and the response they received when they tried to report the crime. These students were faced with disbelief and retaliation from authorities. Blame was even thrown their way. Nothing was done to their attackers, but instead of the victims staying silent in their shame, they decided to speak out and bring about change their own way.
Directed by Lisa F. Jackson and produced by Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen, “It Happened Here” is a compelling documentary that goes through the struggles survivors face and how these five survivors worked to make lasting change.
"Undercover Copper" is a film that explores the juxtaposition of sexual assault and the criminal justice system. The documentary investigates the position of rape victims as they move from the initial crime to the end of the trial process — all while highlighting the misconceptions that people hold about sexual assault and the failings of the legal system while dealing with these crimes.
"Undercover Copper” exposes the problems within the judicial system in handling rape cases and how there is a need for governmental change to really make a difference in the lives of victims.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and while the makers of these documentaries worked hard to expose sexual assault through these projects, it is important that they are viewed and noticed if they are to make any real change. If we stand together to bring awareness to acts of assault, work to help victims and make it unacceptable to commit this horrific crime, maybe we can help end the widespread crime.