Nancy_Schwartzman213 karma2019-08-13 16:32:46 UTC
All teens growing up with this culture harbor the fucked up belief systems we give them, unfortunately.
Most students in Steubenville were going along with the crowd and blaming the victim. It's what they've been taught, it's what the adults around them were doing! It does depend on the town and the school. Jane Doe was from a neighboring town, and her community supported her, for the most part.
The girls in Roll Red Roll reminded me so much of so many of the girls I grew up with, we were taught that if you are raped it's your fault, because rape is inevitable, so we should "be safe" and if it does happen, we must have done something to provoke it.
Our goal entirely with this film is to flip that narrative.
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Nancy_Schwartzman204 karma2019-08-13 14:56:40 UTC
Such a great question. So often when we talk about preventing sexual violence or rape, we focus on what girls/women can do to "stay safe". As if rape is something that's inevitable, that we just have to accept. What I wanted to show in "Roll Red Roll" was how endemic the culture is, and how we're steeped in it - so all kids (even the mythical "good kids" whoever those are) are susceptible to going along with the dominant culture. Parents can start by making preventing sexual violence something they talk to their sons about. What is consent? What is bodily autonomy for them (boys can be assaulted, too - of course), and what is bodily autonomy for classmates and the girls they might be dating. No one has the right over someone else's body. Start recognizing who in your friend group might be a predator - who actively seeks out the drunkest girl at the party, who you wouldn't feel comfortable leaving your sister with - and call him out. We have to ask our sons to step up and prevent rape before it happens. If schools aren't doing sex-education parents need to push that science, fact-based, consent-based sex-ed are part of their schools and teams. (long answer!)
Nancy_Schwartzman192 karma2019-08-13 15:01:57 UTC
Thanks so much for watching the film, and I'm glad you got to experience more with the film. I first heard about the story when it broke in the New York Times. Blogger Alexandria Goddard (@prinniedidit) already captured social media, found deleted evidence and kicked it up to larger audience. Rachel Dissell, investigative reporter at the Plain Dealer had been reporting on it, too. Then Anonymous came in, after Alex was sued (a local family was trying to silence her blogging about the case!) and blew it onto the New York Times home page. The Steubenville story had all the elements - rape culture writ large, published in hundreds of social media posts. For me, I wanted to look at story about rape and not center and scrutinize the victim. What is the language these boys are using, and why is no one stopping it? What was happening in that town that made it "ok" to joke so publicly about rape? Getting into town was INTENSE, for sure there was a lot of hostility. I'm a woman, a New Yorker, a survivor, part of the "media", I didn't fit in and I wasn't welcome. But after a while, lots of face time and getting to know folks, they opened up and shared their truths with me.
Nancy_Schwartzman116 karma2019-08-13 15:27:00 UTC
Oh goodness... you want me to go back to Ohio and make a follow-up film?!
What I thought was so powerful in the Steubenville story, wasn't just that Trent and Ma'lik committed a crime and were adjudicated guilty (legal language when juveniles are "found guilty) but that so many other boys were in that room, witnessed the crime, took photos, did nothing. I didn't want anyone to watch the film and learn those details and say it was no big deal what happened in that town. It is a BIG DEAL if your son steps over a victim and does nothing, or photographs a victim and doesn't stop it or help her. To my mind all of the kids who laughed, witnessed, spread the social media that shamed her deserve attention and scrutiny.
So - follow up on some of the people in the film, I am sure C. Saltsman is living his life, as if nothing happened. Under the radar, low profile, not quite in the room, but certainly had a part in what happened.
Yup, you are right about Trent Mays - a victim did come forward saying she was assaulted by him (with a photo taken, I have seen it), but I don't think she's opting to make a report. I understand, the criminal justice system is set up to support perpetrators, to encourage them to lie and deny, and then drag victims. So it is well known on his campus by admins that he is a sex offender, with a prior record for assault, and yet - he still plays at the school.
Ma'lik was invited back on the Steubenville H.S. football team after he was released from juvenile detention and was MVP that year. I heard the crowds cheering his name when I was there for the game. A lot of people in town were outraged about that and found their voice then. Nothing had changed in the town, no anti-violence programs, no education, so letting him back onto a team that had not changed its ways was outrageous to locals, and prompted some dissent.
Yes, Ma'lik's father was a troubled man. Ma'lik was actually raised by another local family, the Agrestas - a big football family in Steubenville, since he was a kid. So Ma'lik's dad did assault a judge, and was shot and killed. Tragic.
My goal with making this film is to really invite men, boys, coaches and athletes to step up and join us in doing anti-violence work. I'd feel really good if Steubenville invited the film to show their high school kids. Til then, I won't be going back!
Nancy_Schwartzman94 karma2019-08-13 15:34:20 UTC
I know - so important to include the "mean girls" who do their part in upholding the culture. I'm sure I was like that little bit when I was a teenager! That's how I was raised, it's a girls' fault...
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