Victim/Suspect is a documentary focusing on journalist Rae De Leon and her investigative report into the curious way authorities approach cases involving sexual assault. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Rachel ‘Rae’ De Leon always had a passion for journalism which led to her joining the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Oakland, and one of the first cases that caught her eye was that of Nikki Yovino, a young girl who was prosecuted for submitting a false police report.
Rae noticed a few more cases where a person went in to report an alleged sexual assault but was ultimately charged with submitting a false report and treated as a suspect. She saw a pattern within the process of investigation and began asking questions about it.
Rae gets in touch with other experts as well as victims who were going through a similar issue and over the course of multiple years of dedicated research and legwork, managed to expose an institutional failing in how cases of sexual assault are prosecuted.
The film doesn’t rely too much on awkward dramatic reenactments and focuses on the people telling the story and the footage of the interrogations which is an improvement on other investigative films.
The effort and research are there for everyone to see and the primary subjects in the film are covered thoroughly. The way the interrogation videos are presented lets the audience decide how they want to react to what is happening.
It is disheartening to see what has been uncovered in this film, and yet it makes a huge difference for the people that are affected by these issues so to give it this public platform is truly uplifting.
Rae mentions that as a journalist, she must appear as an unbiased individual approaching this investigation, and while she must have maintained that throughout the investigation, this film cannot help but be tilted to one specific side simply by depicting the facts.
Victim/Suspect is a small triumph for investigative journalism and how if people are determined to find the truth about something broken, then they will find a way to bring it to the public’s attention for broad judgment. The film exposes the gross miscarriage of justice, the inconsistencies in the work put in by the authorities, and the deep-rooted issues leading to this eventual incompetence.
Director: Nancy Schwartzman
Date Created: 2023-05-23 12:30