The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Netflix’s ‘Unbelievable’ Tells an All Too Common Story for Victims of Sexual Assault


Netflix recently released a new limited series titled Unbelievable which follows a young girl who reports a sexual assault but later rescinds her claim after being coerced by detectives who believe she is lying. The series, based on real events, stars Booksmart’s Kaitlyn Dever as Marie Adler, who is assaulted by an unknown perpetrator.

The series is split into eight episodes, which detail how the story progresses as two female detectives investigate cases similar to Marie’s three years in the future. However, one thing that stands out about the series is the way Marie is treated by detectives. After minor inconsistencies appear in her story, detectives believe that she is not telling the truth and bully her into retracting her allegation. The detectives ask Marie “if there really is a rapist,” as she utters a weak “no” in a gut-wrenching interrogation scene.

The fact that the detectives working Marie’s case do not believe her story is not an uncommon occurrence. According to RAINN, 13% of rape victims do not report to the police because they believe the police will not do anything to help. RAINN also states that only 46 out of 1000 sexual assault reports lead to an arrest. As Marie’s story progresses, the public becomes aware that she “lied” about her assault. She then quits her job due to stress and harassment, which is also not uncommon. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.”

The show itself is a riveting “whodunit” story that keeps the audience entertained at each turn. However, the impact that this show has on survivors of sexual assault is immeasurable. It shows them that they are not alone in their experiences, and that there is always someone looking out for them. In addition, the series can show the general public just how much a victim goes through, and is a must-watch for more reasons than one.

Resources for victims of sexual violence:

WSU Counseling Center: (413) 572-5790

RAINN: (202) 544-1034

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

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