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The Blue & Gray Press | November 22, 2017

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Film Festival 'Short' Shows Insensitivity

BY CHRISTIE MEREDITH

This year’s student film festival, The Spectacle, featured shorts of comedy, intrigue and insightful information. Then there was one short that distastefully poked fun at the rape attack that took place at the school parking lot during the fall semester.

The film wasted time as it tried to create a sense of normalcy as well as a sense of the safety that every female student at Mary Washington should be able to feel when walking by herself.

The young girl in the film did not heed the advice of others and walked alone in the parking deck around nightfall; although this is unwise behavior, it is understandable. No one is 100 percent focused on their safety all of the time and it is easy to think that something dangerous can’t or won’t happen.

However, the video turned inappropriate when the young girl was being engaged by an attacker. The shot then turned into a simulation of a video game. The comparison of a girl being attacked and possibly raped to a thing that kids play in their homes is disgusting. Rape is not a subject that should be made light of, especially when such an attack occurred in that very parking garage.

Not only do the girl and attacker engage in a mock physical confrontation, but the supposedly educational video fails to mention any other ways that the girl could have defended herself. The blurb at the end of the video merely challenges women to stand up for themselves, and, while I fully support this, it should also be stated that fighting the attacker should be the final resort.

Websites such as reescape.com, defendu.com, and rad-systems.com all urge women to scream for help—even if the attacker threatens you not to make a noise—yell the word “Fire,” run away, and try to set up barriers between yourself and the attacker.

Fighting someone who is potentially armed and possibly stronger/bigger than you should be your last line of defense, not the first.

One of the short’s most grievous mistakes, however, was when the young girl has a conflict within about whether to call for help.
When she decides to do so, a button explodes and pictures of an atom bomb explosion occupy the screen sending the message that she must fight for herself.

This is exactly the message that police, non-profit organizations, and society in general are trying to refute.

Since many victims do not report their assault, many rapists remain at large. This video just fed into the belief that women should not bother to report crimes against them because they won’t be helped.
This is not true.

I understand it is a horrible experience, but victims should understand that help is out there and will come if they step forward.

Our own UMW police are available and want to help. If you are a student worried to walk alone at night, call them. They will come and escort you to your car, building, etc. If an attack is committed against you, tell them. It is their job to ensure the safety of each student, staff person, and faculty member on this campus.

I personally hated this video for making fun of an issue as sensitive as rape, particularly after the two attacks on our own campus.
I hope that if these film makers plan on making an educational short in next year’s competition, they are at least competent enough to give correct and helpful information.

Chelsie Meredith is a sophomore.