Netflix always delivers with its fascinating, thought-provoking, and emotionally affecting documentaries, and its latest offering, “Victim/Suspect,” is no different. Directed by Nancy Schwartzman, it showcases journalist Rae de Leon’s investigation into the horrifying pattern of women reporting sexual assault to police but not being believed.
Per the official synopsis: “Young women tell the police they’ve been sexually assaulted, but instead of finding justice, they’re charged with the crime of making a false report, arrested, and even imprisoned by the system they believed would protect them.”
Leon aims to find out why this pattern is so prominent nationwide and why it’s happening. She also includes actual videos of female victims in police custody along with testimony from witnesses to further her story. The result is incredibly depressing, enraging, and downright shocking.
More than two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported in the United States, with only 310 out of every 1,000 being reported to police, per the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). What’s even worse is the extremely low prosecution rate, with 975 out of every 1,000 suspects walking free and never facing justice for what they’ve done.
It’s no wonder that so many women don’t bother reporting their assaults to police. The likelihood of them being taken seriously is relatively slim. Plus, there’s always the chance that they themselves could face criminal charges for coming forward, making it not worth the added heartache for many.
Needless to say, viewers are really responding to Netflix’s “Victim/Suspect,” taking to social media to voice their thoughts.
“Victim/Suspect had my stomach churning, my skin crawling, and my heart aching within the first 15 minutes. If you are able, please watch,” one person wrote. Another added, “I feel so sick watching this. Actually SICK. The police officers in this documentary all need to be held to justice. Absolutely vile human beings.” A third said, “Two minutes into Victim/Suspect and I’m already furious and screaming at the TV.”
We can only hope that through increased awareness, we can start to make some serious change. Let’s hope of all Netflix documentaries, people tune into this one.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, visit the RAINN website or call their national helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).