For me, there is no holier temple than the movie theater. I’ve been proud to work weekends and evenings with a local film festival for the last four years, and was thrilled and honored earlier this year when my boss told me that he hoped I could take over the programming and run the festival myself when he retires.
But recently, I quit over a stupid Gerard Butler movie from five years ago that no one even remembers from the original release, because it includes scenes that exploit sexual assault. The festival was poised to be my dream job, but I couldn’t imagine sitting in the theater, among hundreds of people, and not being deeply ashamed of making them watch a film that includes scenes that take advantage of a very real, very painful thing that happens to many people every day. I tried to talk my director into taking the film off the schedule, but he refused, so I had to make a tough choice.
I love film festivals because they make us talk about film, and what films mean, and how what we watch shapes who we are and how we live our lives. So what does it say if we promote films that use rape as a plot device or as eye candy? Rape is not a storytelling tool, rape is a terrible crime that is committed every day.
In order to acknowledge the awful reality of how sexual assault affects all our lives, I am supporting the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s Walk for Change for the second year. Although I am very sad to have left the film festival, I know that it was the right thing to do. There are many ways to work against sexual assault in our communities. For me, it meant refusing to promote an exploitative, harmful film. For you? Please consider joining us at the Walk for Change or making a donation.
To borrow from an email my team leader sent out: other places may offer similar support services, but nowhere else offers it all for free, or is so good at anticipating all the needs and fears of every type of survivor in order to make them as comfortable as possible.
Please consider forwarding this link to anyone you feel might be interested in supporting BARCC’s very necessary work.
I have the most inspiring, passionate friends; if you can, support Liz for refusing to accept rape as a plot device, as she supports the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s amazing work in Boston.