Films To Watch During SAAM 2022

"Hand holding a teal ribbon"

By Christine Galloway ( GBV Peer Educator), Kausar Yahya (GBV Peer Educator) and Bukola Solomon (GBV Education Coordinator)

 

April marks the Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence and effects of sexual assault and how to prevent it. The month presents a wide range of opportunities hosted by The Consent is Everything team in collaboration with campus and community members to empower students, faculty and staff to meaningfully engage with conversations about what constitutes sexual assault, how to prevent it and how to support survivors.

Education, through films, is one of the important resources through which we can learn, reflect and engage with such a sensitive and difficult subject.  Below is a list of fictional, non-fictional films and documentaries that you can binge watch this month and over the end of semester break.

If you have any questions or concerns that you observed while watching any of these films and feel like sharing them with someone, you can contact us consent [at] mohawkcollege.ca

**Trigger Warning** These films reveal content related to sexual violence, which could be traumatizing and triggering for some individuals. Should you feel overwhelmed at any point while watching these films, you are encouraged to pause and go through these 30-day self-care flashcards (opens PDF, 7.5mb) that our team has compiled to ensure that you are centering your own health while learning about this important topic.

You can also seek support through Mohawk College's Counselling services at (905)-575-2211 or Email counselling [at] mohawkcollege.ca. You can also contact the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office, which offers support in navigating gender-based violence and sexual violence support and reporting options at consent [at] mohawkcollege.ca

You can also contact the Sexual Assault Center of Hamilton Area's (SACHA) 24 Hour Support Line at (905)-525-4162, or visit their website: SACHA (Links to an external site.)

 

1. Unbelievable (2019)

Trigger warning: trauma, rapes are shown in flashback| Netflix.

Starring Toni Collete and Kaitlyn Dever | Episodes: 8 episodes from 45 minutes to 1 Hour

This crime drama series is based on the real-life story of a then 18-year-old who reported of being raped by a masked intruder in her apartment in Washington but was re-victimized by the investigating officers who accused her of lying and the legal process that made her to retell her story multiple times. One of the lessons of the movie is that people react to trauma and violence differently, and there are neurobiological  explanations to help us understand these different responses.

2. Promising Young Woman (2020)

Starring Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham | Running Time 113 minutes

Trigger warning: Sexual assault is implied (characters watch a video off screen |Crave, YouTube

This fiction depicts a young woman’s attempt to enact revenge on those involved in her best friend’s sexual assault. It addresses the culture that enable and protect many perpetrators while denying support and justice for many survivors.

3. Sex Education (2019)

Starring Asa Butterfield and Emma McKay| Running time: 3 seasons, episodes 50 minutes each.

Trigger warning: Bullying, sexual content, sexual assault. |Netflix.

The series follows the lives of the students, staff, and parents of the fictional Moordale Secondary School as they contend with various personal dilemmas, often related to sexual intimacy. In particular, the show details sexual assault and the effects of sexual violence, such as self-blaming, avoidance, isolation and fear.

4. I May Destroy You (2020)

Starring Micheala Coel | Running time: 1 season, episodes 30 minutes each

Trigger warning: Sexual assault, rape, violence, graphic sex scenes. |Apple TV.

After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, Arabella's life changes irreversibly and she is forced to reassess everything, including her career, friends, and family. The question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation. This depicts the multidimensional aspects of sexual assault and exploitation and move the conversations on consent beyond the surface-level understanding. For instance, it talks about ‘stealthing’ (removing a condom during sex without the other partner’s consent) as a form of sexual violence and how consent to sex with a condom is not consent to sex without a condom. 

5. Bombshell (2019)

Trigger warning: manipulation, sexist behaviour, implications of sex. | Netflix.

Starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie |Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes

Based on true events, this movie depicts the story of three women who exposed a series of sexual harassment  by the CEO of one of the biggest cable television networks. Fox News.

6. The Accused (1988)

Trigger warning: assault, rape. Rent it on YouTube, Google Play Movies, Apple TV

Starring Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis |Running time: 1 hour 51 minutes

This movie sparks conversations on how rape trials focus disproportionately on survivors, and the effects of victim-blaming relating to the use of substance, clothing and sexual history.

7. Precious (2009)

Trigger warning; parental abuse, rape, and incest. | Prime, YouTube, Apple Tv

Unraveling the themes of domestic and sexual abuse and incest, this movie follows the journey of a teenager trying to speak out and leave an abusive household where she was abused by her parents.Starring Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, and Mo’Nique | Running time: 1 hour 49 minutes

8. The Hunting Ground (2005)

Trigger warning: mentions of rape and sexual assault. | YouTube, Apple, or Google.

Starring Andrea Pino and Annie Clark | Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes

A documentary film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and the reported failure of college administrations to deal with it adequately.

 

9. Citation (2020)

Cast: Temi Odetola, Gabriel Afolayan, Joke SilvaTrigger warning: Scenes depicting sexual assault. | Netflix

A Nigerian student takes on the academic establishment when she reports a popular professor who tried to rape her. Based on real events, it contextualizes the prevalence and underreporting of sexual violence in post-secondary institutions and tackles weak institutional responses. 

10. Sex for Grades (2019)

Trigger warning: Real audio recordings of sexual harassment | YouTube

This documentary depicts an undercover investigation into the abuse of power and authority in Ghanaian and Nigerian universities. It follows professors who request sexual activity in exchange for academic favors. The Citation movie is based on this documentary.

11. Surviving R. Kelly (2020)

Cast members: R Kelly subject person, Sparkle, Tarana Burke, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, Wendy Williams, Tom Joyner, Joe Budden etc.

This documentary reveals the perils of predatory behavior as a group of young women unite to share their experiences of sexual violence by a prominent musician, R Kelly, who was convicted shortly after the release of the documentary. It brings to the fore the culture of complicity and enforced silence that enabled the musician to evade prosecution and continue the abuse for almost three decades.

12. Athlete A (2020)

Cast: Larry Nassar, Maggie Nichols, Gina Nichols and other Athletes. |Netflix

Like surviving R Kelly, this documentary also reveals decades of abuse of power by a doctor of the US’ women's national gymnastics team, Larry Nasser, who sexually assaulted over 500 girls and women. Although he was convicted, the documentary calls for some accountability for institutional structure and practice that protects perpetrators, silence survivors, and harbor abuse.

13. Loev (2015)

Cast: Shiv Pandit, Dhruv Ganesh, Siddharth Menon |Netflix

"Lives are upended when a hiking trip leads a Wall Street hotshot to explore his true feelings for an old friend who's disenchanted with his boyfriend." This movie sparks conversations about consent and sexual violence within the LGBTQIA2+ communities.

14. Spotlight (2015)

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams.

Trigger Warning: child sexual abuse | Netflix, HULU and Amazon Prime

Based on true life events, this movie follows a team of journalists who investigate allegations of child sexual abuse against John Geoghan, a priest in the Catholic Church accused of molesting more than 80 boys. The journalists, later unraveled a systematic cover-up by the church of abuse of thousands of boys by priests all over the world.

 

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