Film based on interviews with survivors
THE SANTA CLARA
January 15, 2015
Santa Clara alumni acted in a movie that premiered on campus last Friday to raise awareness of the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.
The screenplay for the film, called “Can’t Thread a Moving Needle,” was adapted from the play of the same name that was written by Barbara Means Fraser ( a department of theatre and dance Professor) to educate freshmen about sexual assault on college campuses.
Fraser and her students based the play on over 100 interviews they conducted with sexual assault victims, perpetrators, family, friends, counselors and others affected by sexual violence. The film reinacted several of these interviews. Associate Communications Professor Michael Whalen directed the production.
The film emphasizes that the perpetrators of sexual assault are rarely stereotypical strangers lurking in an alleyway, but are often friends and acquaintances that their victims know and trust. It also touches on the definition of consent and the importance of bystander intervention.
The play was performed for freshmen during orientation beginning in 2008. Matthew Duncan, associate dean for student life, pushed to turn the production into a screenplay to decrease the amount of work and time required to present it to freshmen.
“We need to do a better job of discussing this topic,” Duncan said. “Now we have the opportunity to require all freshmen to sit down and struggle with this topic and try to do so in a safe way that will challenge their thinking.”
Santa Clara alumnus Amelia Bethel, who acted in the film, also performed in the play when she was a student. According to Bethel, acting in the play helped her “immensely” through a very difficult time in her life.
“I hope that for women and men who are survivors of sexual assault, this film will show them that they are not alone, that they are not to be blamed and that they are not broken,” Bethel said in an email.
The film was made possible by a grant from the AVON Foundation for Women, which will allow Santa Clara to make the movie available to other institutions for free. According to Duncan, Santa Clara is building a website to host the movie.
Contact Krista Clawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.