Netflix’s miniseries “Unbelievable” highlights the holes that still exist in our culture regarding sexual assault and reflects why we need to start thinking in becoming a feminist world that protects women instead of questioning them

“Unbelievable” is the incredible mini-series launched on Netflix that tells two stories in parallel and with a time lag: the first is the story of a young woman named Marie, which took place in 2008 and tells the story of how in the middle of the night a stranger sneaks into her room, ties her up, rapes her, photographs her and runs away. And not only that, it’s also the story of how the denunciation of this event turns against her. The second story takes place in 2011, and it’s the story of two police investigators and their excellent work in finding a serial rapist.

The story stands out above all for its empathy in exquisitely narrating what we now know happens to women all over the world: the doubt and distrust generated towards a woman when she has been sexually assaulted.

The first chapter in the series – the first of eight excellent chapters that will leave you hooked from start to finish- focuses entirely on Marie’s story. From the beginning of the chapter we see how the young traumatized girl tells the next morning what has happened to her. How she has been raped. How a man has abused her. Nevertheless, during the chapter, Marie’s dark past comes to light, a fact that makes the police even more suspicious of believing her story. Also, police find there is no obvious evidence that such a rape has occurred. In the end, two male police officers, frustrated for not having evidence of the rape, pressure the traumatized and helpless girl into lying. They silence her. They make her believe that the rape has been a figment of her imagination.

You only need to watch this first chapter to realize how the series shows the harsh reality that continues to happen today. How a woman is constantly questioned when she claims to have been sexually abused. How the police question every part of the story and the fact, pressing to verify the truth of the story. How every little detail that might go against the woman’s story is scrutinized.

Fortunately, the story also tells the excellent work of two female police officers -Karen Duvall and Grace Rasmussen- who investigate a serial rapist who ends up being the same man who raped Marie years before. These two women show their empathy for raped women from the beginning. They instantly show their understanding, their belief in the stories they hear from the victims, how the anger they feel at this injustice drives them to work tirelessly to find the man who caused all this pain as soon as possible.

The surprise comes when it turns out that this story is based on real facts and that’s when the story and its realism are so well understood. The story is based on the research article An Unbelievable Story of a Rape which received a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 in the category of Explanatory Reporting.

In an era where feminist movements -such as the Me Too movement- are growing in strength, it is necessary to emphasize how much this type of series are needed to remind us of the hard processes that a rape victim goes through even today. This series can serve to humanize more all the victims from sexual assault and bring out the empathy of each person, make them put into these women’s shoes and try to understand that this is something that also happens in real life and that must be eradicated.

Stop questioning what the victim was wearing or why evidence is missing. Enough of trying to ridicule every woman who has suffered at the hands of a man. Enough of a police and judicial system that still does not fully understand the situation a woman goes through when she decides to report a sexual assault. The greatest struggle today is against all those who are capable of questioning the truthfulness and pain of a sexual assault. It is against all those who have ever tried to make the victim feel guilty.

That is why, for all the prejudices that still exist towards women who report rape and for all the women who have been forced to be silent, we need more series like “Unbelievable”. Series that remind us of the need for the world to become feminist. Perhaps then, when this change has happened, we’ll be able to speak fearlessly and there will be no art of silencing.

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