Based on a true story, a high school team’s star rugby player witnesses the sexual assault of his best friend and is threatened with silence or lose his chance with the national team.
When Criss Gidas (Writer/Producer) shared this script with me, she told me the story had been truthfully recalled from an assault she was the victim of as a teenager. It broke my heart to know she had been holding on to these emotions for so long – with no opportunity to comfortably speak up. With the recent increase in public discussion surrounding sexual assault, we felt now was a relevant time to tell Criss’ story.
We wanted to inspire a change in perspective, so we told the story from the point of view of a witness, rather than focusing solely on the victim or the perpetrator or the assault itself. This allowed us to explore a bystander’s experience, responsibility and emotional journey in the scenario of a sexual assault involving people close to him, and also highlighted the power of silence. There’s definitely a terrible stigma – especially amongst males – about speaking up against friends who may have done something wrong. We hope our project challenges audiences to consider who could be held accountable for the actions unfolding in the story, as the characters are forced to make difficult decisions with the potential to affect everyone around them.
I think, for the most part, we all know what constitutes the best moral decision in this story – but how many people in this situation would actually speak up and show support?