The rise of the #MeToo movement has unearthed some of the darkest secrets of the entertainment industry over the past few years. From Weinstein to Kevin Spacey, victims of sexual assault are becoming empowered and feel like they are being given a voice. Unfortunately, it is not enough for the abused to speak up, especially when those in power are closing ranks and protecting the abusers. Kevin Spacey is still on the big screen, Bill Cosby is not behind bars, and accusers are still being treated like they are attention seekers looking for their fifteen minutes of fame or a quick payday. Let us not forget, that Bill Cosby’s accusers were only taken seriously after a MAN (Hannibal Buress) started speaking up for them in his stand up act.
Let’s be clear, no one has ever benefited from being raped or groped. Women lose work, lose friends, lose self-esteem, and sometimes lose a part of themselves. This is speaking from personal experience – from being groped, being flashed, to a group of men trying to drag me into a car when I was sixteen, I am not a special case. Every woman, and a few men I know have been victims of sexual violence or harassment, and none of us asked for it.
This week Louis CK, admitted sexual predator and comedian, did a surprise set at the Comedy Cellar club in New York. Now, it’s been around a year since the allegations about his sexual misconduct broke, and him turning up out of the blue, is problematic for several reasons. The main one being he has never really apologised for his actions, and the fact that his accusers have struggled to find work since speaking out against him. If this man has a stage, his victims do not, and the fact that he used this comeback to make a rape joke, shows that he has learned nothing, and has no regard for the feelings of those people he has abused. It is especially troubling that sexual assault allegations don’t ruin men’s lives, they ruin the lives of the women who are brave enough to call them out. And that, sadly, is the reason why so many victims do not come forward and report incidents; because the consequences for the victim can be truly devastating.
The difference between how sexual assault victims vs treatment of perpetrators are treated in society is part of a much bigger problem, as often for the victim, the attack itself is just the beginning of the ordeal. They are forced to prove to society that they are worthy of being taken seriously as a ‘’credible’’ victim, someone who has good standing, does not have drug or alcohol issues, mental health problems, are not sexually promiscuous, or have ties to the sex industry. All these factors make it hard for a judge and jury to believe that the VICTIM (I must reiterate this, because the way these people are treated is that they have done something wrong, instead of being protected and cared for by the system) , is an ‘’upstanding citizen’’ and worthy enough to be believed. The saddest part for me is that being a victim usually causes a lot of these issues, and many choose alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Statistically you are more likely to be a victim of sexual assault or rape, if it has already happened to you before; this is because predators can sense vulnerability and hone in on it. You can not blame another person for what an attacker does to them. If a woman walks down the street naked, drunk and covered in glitter, it does not give anyone the right to touch or abuse her. Let me be clear; it is NEVER the victim’s fault.
Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane is the perfect metaphor for the powerlessness of victims of sexual assault. The story of a young girl who is detained in a mental health unit, where she finds herself at the mercy of her stalker (or does she?). The need to be believed, the gaslighting by the people around her and the claustrophobic power her stalker has over her, makes it an extremely relevant film for the #MeToo generation.
I enjoyed this film, for all its intensity, but admittedly it was a little unrealistic in terms of medical care and procedure. If you suspend your disbelief though, and let yourself be taken for a ride, Unsane is an enjoyable, if somewhat silly film.
The cinematography is not great, as it is shot on an iPhone camera, and unfortunately the film’s best scenes seem to have been all used in the trailers, but it is certainly not the worst film I have seen. Claire Foy’s acting is the most redeeming quality, and she does a fine job of carrying the film to it’s somewhat predictable and disappointing ending.
If you aren’t looking to be wowed, and more of a way to pass the time – Unsane is a good bet for a average night in. You may love it or hate it, but mostly it made me Meh.
C+, so I’m not quite giving it a failing grade, but needs more work to pass muster.