Lilly Collection Spotlight: Films to Help Fortify and Fight Back

April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). To commemorate the anniversary, we’re highlighting powerful films in Lilly Library’s collection that illuminate and interrogate this urgent, essential issue.

scene from documentary film, "On the Record"
On the Record (2020, dirs. Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering)

On the Record (2020, dirs. Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering)
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On the Record presents the haunting story of former A&R executive Drew Dixon, whose career and personal life were upended by the alleged abuse she faced from her high-profile male bosses. The documentary follows Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward to publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.

film still from "Primas"
Primas (2018, dir. Laura Bari)

Primas (2018, dir. Laura Bari) Lilly DVD 32294
Primas
is an evocative and poetic portrait of two Argentine teenage cousins who come of age together as they overcome the heinous acts of violence that interrupted their childhoods.

Image from documentary film, "The Bystander Moment"
The Bystander Moment (2018, dir. Jackson Katz)

The Bystander Moment: Transforming Rape Culture  at its Roots  (2018, dir. Jeremy Earp)
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The #MeToo movement has shined much-needed light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and abuse and created unprecedented demand for gender violence prevention models that actually work. The Bystander Moment tells the story of one of the most prominent and proven of these models – the innovative bystander approach developed by pioneering scholar and activist Jackson Katz and his colleagues at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society in the 1990s. Check out this and other films on gender violence prevention in the Media Education Foundation collection. 

Graphic from "Breaking Silence: a Film"
Breaking Silence: a Film (2017, dir. Nadya Ali)

Breaking Silence: a Film (2017, dir. Nadya Ali) Lilly DVD 31056
In Breaking Silence: a Film, Three Muslim women share their stories of sexual assault–and, in a deeply personal way, they challenge the stigma that has long suppressed the voice of survivors. Throughout America, many Muslim communities persist in stigmatizing all discussion of sex-related subjects. This documentary takes a radical and humanizing approach to the emotional scars of sexual assault, giving women the space to share their voices without shame.

Film still from "Sisters Rising"
Sisters Rising (2020, dirs. Willow O’Feral & Brack Heck)

And coming soon to Lilly’s film collection: SISTERS RISING, a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal and tribal sovereignty. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women, federal studies have shown, with one in three Native women reporting having been raped during her lifetime. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.

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