This week we are headed to a panel discussion at Mary Washington University. We are going to view the movie: “The Accused.” Run out and get this movie right now if you have never seen it! It was done in the 80’s starring Jodie Foster. Without giving away the whole thing, here is a quick review:
Jodie Foster won her first Oscar for her role in this drama, based on an actual incident. She plays a girl out for a night of fun at a poolroom. Before she knows what’s happening, the men she’s been flirting with have pinned her down for a gang rape. The story centers on the efforts of a district attorney (Kelly McGillis) to press her case, in spite of a wall of silence by the participants–and then to take the unusual step of going after the witnesses as accomplices. Foster is outstanding as a tough, blue-collar woman who persists in what seems like an unwinnable case, despite the prospect of character assassination for standing up for herself. –Marshall Fine
In the movie the victim is pretty much treated as if she were the wrong doer. There are plenty of bystanders, the rape is cheered on! This leads us to ask “does it happen in real life?” The answer is a resounding YES!
So many victims choose not to report because of what we call “collateral damage”. What was she wearing? Why was she there? She had been drinking, doing drugs, cheating, dating, etc. Victim Blaming is a huge problem in our society. Let me be clear; No One Deserves to Be Raped! The responsibility lies solely and completely on the perpetrator.
Do bystanders really just look the other way? YES! We see it all the time when abuse is hidden as “family business.” When people look at drug assisted rape with a “get her drunk and screw her” mentality. When people tall a victim they are making a big deal out of harassment or assault so the perpetrator can escape punishment or even embarrassment.
We are going to take a look at what it would be like if some of the circumstances were changed to fit the college atmosphere. Where can we change attitudes and awareness here in our community? I am guessing these students will surprise me with their ideas and plans, they usually do!