I don’t know if you have heard but, there is a new limited series on Netflix called Unbelievable. I do want to give a warning before you watch, Unbelievalble contains depictions of sexual violence and investigations into sexual assault, which might be triggering for some. It’s not something that is easy to watch, but I feel it’s an important show, if you can handle the subject. Be prepared for rage and some tears, my friends. Also, keep the tissues nearby, you will need them.
Now, let’s jump in.
Unbelievable is just that, unbelievable. This limited series was so well done and thought out. It will leave you on the edge of your seat, and continuing to play the next episode. The cast did a brilliant job portraying the story. I give them huge kudos for that. It’s not easy on a regular day, let alone covering a topic such as sexual assault.
You can also tell there was a team of women behind this project as well. The message that they were able to convey with such emotion was so heart wrenching. I can’t tell you how many times I was raging and seething, while simultaneously crying and heartbroken. It was a range of emotions that I’m not used to feeling while watching a show. They also were able to convey the survivors stories and injustices in a dignified way that showed care to me. The writing is phenomenal.
I would like to say a big thank you to the team behind Unbelievable. It was created by Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, and Michael Chabon. The show was executive-produced by Grant, Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, and Katie Couric. They took a true story and made it into a limited series that portrays the truth and injustices that sexual assault survivors face.
THE WASHINGTON CASE
Let’s talk about Marie. She wasn’t believed after she was sexually assaulted. She did what we as women are always encouraged to do, speak up. Speak up she did. What she was met with was people not believing her, people thinking she made up a story to get attention, based on circumstances in her childhood.
When she needed help the most, the system that is in place to help people did nothing but fail her, over and over. The detectives failed her, her foster parents failed her, counselors, friends, nurses, her lawyer, and on and on it went. She was treated with hostility and anger when she should have had grace and compassion.
While it isn’t hard to believe that one set of detectives treated a sexual assault case completely different from another, it is still hard to watch. Not all two people are going to react the same when they have the same experience. There is no “correct” way to act to trauma.
The amount of rage that I felt as I witnessed Marie be shut out and vilified was so bad at times I had angry tears in my eyes. There is no excuse to treat a human being that way, let alone an innocent person who went through an unimaginable trauma.
Unbelievable brought to light the reality of what so many women face when they report that they were sexually assaulted. As much as it pains me, I feel that many women are treated this way. They are told they are lying, and that nothing happened to them.
When other women see this, it makes them not want to report their case as well. On and on the wheels of injustice turn. Marie was assaulted twice, once by a man and another by the system. That shouldn’t be the reality that we live in.
When the truth came to light I was happy we got to see the face of Det. Parker when he realized how much he had fucked up. Yes, she was telling the truth you ass-hat. I hope you learned a valuable lesson on how you should be treating people.
Kaitlyn Dever’s portrayal of Marie was so outstanding, raw, and emotional. To see that kind of emotion on screen and be able to tell her story would have been so hard. She made it look effortless when it probably was not.
THE COLORADO CASES
With Det. Duvall and Det. Rasmussen we saw the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Two women who were completed outraged at what had happened and stopped at nothing until they found their perpetrator. They raged and didn’t accept those who had “good intentions,” just went ahead and got the job done.
The detectives didn’t allow for any prejudices or mistrust to stop them from getting justice for all those women. They had nothing but compassion for every person they dealt with who was sexually assaulted. It showed how cases should be handled, and the steps that should be taken to ensure that women get justice.
They had full support in their agencies to get the job done, whatever they needed. They didn’t settle for anything less and spent countless hours and time away from their own lives, dedicated to their cases. It warmed my heart to know that while there are many people that cause injustice; there are some in a position of power to help get it right. I just wish that more women had people like Det. Duvall and Det. Rasmussen that believed in them.
While many of us aren’t in a position of solving actual crimes of sexual assault, that doesn’t mean that we all can’t do our part. It can be as simple as believing someone’s story. Showing compassion and grace and putting the victims first. Just be a decent human being, and treat others how you would want to be treated if it happened to you.
Unbelievable is based on Pulitzer prize winning article titled, An Ubelievable Story of Rape published by ProPublica and The Marshall Project. I highly recommend you read the article. It is a must read.
What are your thoughts about Unbelievable? Share your thoughts and feelings with us.
Unbelievable is now streaming on Netflix.