Each April, we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
There are many ways to inform yourself and observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are seven documentaries and narrative films you may want to check out this April that help spread awareness about sexual assault, have a preventative slant, or tell a story about survival.
1) I Am Evidence
Available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HULU, Amazon Prime
Not Rated – 1hr 29min – Trigger Warning: sexual assault
This documentary follows the stories of survivors seeking justice through police departments and the courts. It identifies the failures of the US criminal justice system and the extreme backlog of unexamined rape kits, and won Best Documentary at the 2019 News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
Available on HULU, Amazon Prime
R – 2hr 8min – Trigger Warning: child abuse
This true newsroom drama starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, follows a team of journalists who investigate allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and unravel the complex cover-up. The film earned a surprise victory when it won Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards.
3) The Hunting Ground
Available on Amazon Prime
PG-13 – 1h 34min – Trigger Warning: campus sexual assault
The Hunting Ground explores the trauma and turmoil victims of sexual assault face on college campuses. The film earned many nominations and wins across the festival circuit, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song–Lady Gaga recorded the original song, “Til It Happens to You,” for the film’s soundtrack.
4) Anita: Speaking Truth to Power
Available on Amazon Prime, Kanopy
Not Rated – 1hr 17 min – Trigger Warning: sexual harassment and racism
For many Americans, one of the key moments in sexual assault awareness was Anita Hill testifying at the congressional confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, who was nominated to become a US Supreme Court Justice in 1991. Anita: Speaking Truth to Power is a documentary that explores the many societal factors at play that blocked Anita Hill from receiving justice after her public accusations of sexual harassment against Thomas.
5) Audrie and Daisy
Available on Netflix
Not Rated – 1hr 35min – Trigger Warning: assault and bullying
Audrie and Daisy is a documentary that looks into harassment and public shame that victims of sexual assault experience in high schools across the US, exploring two specific young teenagers who faced cyberbullying and abuse following their sexual assault. The husband and wife filmmakers describe the film as a “a modern-day Scarlet Letter story.”
Available on Hulu, Amazon Prime
R – 1hr 50min – Trigger Warning: sexual assault and incest
This heartbreaking but hopeful film shows the journey of a young woman growing up in an abusive household, struggling to speak out and escape domestic and sexual abuse. At the 2010 Academy Awards, Gabourey Sidibe was nominated for Best Actress for emotional portrayal of Precious, while Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress for playing her terrifying and abusive mother.
7) The Shawshank Redemption
Available on Netflix
R – 2hr 22min – Trigger Warning: sexual assault
This film follows the experiences of an imprisoned banker and the friendship he develops with an older inmate. Although the film contains problematic representations of prison sexual violence, identifying what the film gets wrong about sexual violence can serve as the basis for an interesting discussion.