Movies have the power to tell a million stories, and some of these stories are more troubling than others. Movies about rape reflect on the unspoken, often taboo, hardships of sexual abuse. This sensitive subject is often misconstrued in media, but these movies bring out truths through impactful storytelling and one-of-a-kind voices.
From drama to documentaries, these movies about rape reflect on unique narratives, each with their own characters, settings, backgrounds and futures. If you have another recommended movie, please share in the comments.
The Color Purple
Based on a novel by Alice Walker, our characters are set in rural Georgia during the 1930’s. After being raped by her father for years and abused by her husband, Celie must discover her own self worth and establish her power. This is an uplifting story of a survivor, with important themes of sexism and racism. The Color Purple tells a story of sisterhood and the beauty of female relationships. After reading the book and watching the movie, fans can also watch an emotional musical performance on Broadway.
(PG-13) Drama, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Adolph Caesar, Rae Dawn Chong, and Whoopi Goldberg
Highlights: incest, racism, sexism, female empowerment, sexuality, pregnancy
The Hunting Ground
The Hunting Ground addresses sexual abuse and rape on college campuses across the United States. Countless rape survivors have been silenced by corruption in sports programs, administrative departments, local law enforcements, and Greek life. With an open mind, viewers can reflect on their own communities and become just as angry as the activists behind the film. Oh, and before sending your child to college, every parent should watch The Hunting Ground.
(PG-13) Documentary, directed by Kirby Dick with interviews by victims, police officers, activists and school officials.
Highlights: Statistics, activism, heterosexual rape, homosexual rape, college campuses, power, victim-blaming
Speak is about Melinda, a high schooler that shuts out her family and friends in response to her rape. While a teacher encourages her to express herself through art, she otherwise remains mute. Learn how Melinda continued to face threats and find out whether she will tell her story. Based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak is often played in high school guidance counseling classes so friends may be able to detect similar behavior in their peers. Find more movies like Speak.
(PG-13) Drama, directed by Jessica Sharzer and starring by Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Steve Zahn.
Highlights: Friendship, high school, peer pressure, isolation, violence
The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini authored The Kite Runner, which was the number one New York Times bestseller novel for over two years. The book has running themes of father-son relationships, friendship and war. However, it is one character’s rape that brings the novel to its raw themes of guilt as well as forgiveness.
(PG-13) Drama, directed by Marc Foster and starring Khalid Abdalla, Zekeria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, Homayoun Ershadi
Highlights: childhood trauma, class systems, friendship, family
If you or someone you know has been raped and is afraid to speak out, talk to a trained specialist through an online chat with the National Sexual Assault Hotline or call 1-800-656-4673. You are not alone. You are a survivor.