Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
For Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we’re adding Speak to the Let’s Talk Public Health Movie List. Speak tells the story of teenager Melinda Sordino. Before the start of her freshman year of high school, Melinda attends an end-of-summer house party with her friends. While at the party, she meets a senior. They spend time together, talking and dancing. The night almost seems magical, until it turns into a nightmare for Melinda. She calls the police to the house that night, busting the party. But she leaves without reporting what happened to her. As students flee the party, Melinda’s friends find each other and drive off without her, leaving Melinda to walk home alone, disheveled with her shoes in her hands.
Melinda starts her freshman year as a recluse, afraid to talk about what happened. Her friends abandon her and her fellow students isolate her, not wanting to be associated with the girl who busted the party. Melinda is withdrawn and depressed, until she gradually finds hope and inspiration in the art class she’s taking. With the guidance of her art teacher, Mr. Freeman, and the test of new friendships, Melinda begins to find her voice again. Her art and even her school work, provide outlets through which she expresses herself, until she is able to speak up about what happened at that party.
Speak has a powerful message, one that should be heard by all. We cannot heal from trauma, if we can’t talk about its causes. Better yet, we can’t address sexual assault, rape, and other causes of trauma, if we can’t talk about them. The #MeToo movement brought once silent voices to the forefront of a national and global conversation, and Time’s Up is working toward change.
Never underestimate the power of voice. One voice can inspire a wave of change and end some of the worst things in this world. Your voice.
If you’re looking to inspire change in your community around sexual assault prevention, and are looking to do so via film, here are some other ideas for movie screenings and panels: https://www.nsvrc.org/blogs/saam/movies-screen-during-saam
By: Monique Thornton, MPH