This new film is one in a series they have made for BBC Three, as a part of a “Things not to say…” series. They’re basically looking for anybody who is comfortable and happy going on camera to discuss the most ignorant things people say about sexual assault. In that sense they are only looking for people who are okay to go public, or who already have gone public (either through TV or in article/blog form). The way it works is they have 8 people come to the studio to be filmed in pairs. They sit at a table and in front of them is a bowl with some of the things listed below that people say about sexual assault. They then take turns picking them out of the bowl and reacting and responding to them. The idea is to that it is insightful and educating, while moving between being somewhat upbeat, and quite serious. Some of the things they’d like to address are:
- What were you wearing?
- Were you drunk?
- Men can’t be sexually assaulted.
- You must have wanted it a little bit
- Are you sure it was definitely sexual assault?
- But you’ve slept with that person before.
- Why didn’t you fight?
With these questions, they’re not actually looking for answers to those questions, but rather the response to being asked something like that, and why it’s such an inappropriate, ridiculous, or dangerous thing to say. In a way the film is less about sexual assault and more about the victim blaming and ignorant culture that exists.
With their films are somewhat upbeat and funny, while still educational and insightful, they’ve found they’re a really effective way of spreading awareness and educating people to think before they speak. This is why they’d like to do one about “Things not to say to a survivor of sexual assault”. This is clearly a very different topic to their other films and is a much more sensitive one to be doing. However, with the victim-blaming culture like it is, it could be incredibly powerful to see survivors speaking up about why a lot of the questions they’re asked are so damaging, inappropriate and dangerous.
They’ve made 18 of these films so far on a wide variety of topics, ranging from Autism, Down’s syndrome, facial disfigurement, British Muslims, bipolar disorder, to lighter topics like pregnancy, vegans, gamers, and many more. The format is that they collect all the most ignorant, annoying, and inappropriate things people say to these groups of people, and give these people a chance to respond to it however they like. The best way to see what they’re doing is to watch some of their previous films. Here’s a link for the one on people with Down’s syndrome which got over 12m views on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bbcthree/videos/10153949919445787/
You can also see the full playlist on YouTube here.
Want to participate? Get in touch with Lucy Allan by email: [email protected]