For only two years now, SCU has been showing the film, Can’t Thread a Moving Needle. Besides the confusing title of this “docudrama” (this is the exact word used on the SCU website), there are way too many problematic areas for this film about sexual assault.
You would think it would be common sense for a person to think, “You know what should not be happening while people are watching a movie about sexual assault and rape? Laughter.” However, the producers of this whatever-you-would-like-to-call-it thought bringing in lightheartedness and “funny” moments would be okay. Put yourself in a sexual assault victim’s shoes. Would you want others who are not educated on the topic to be taking this movie seriously or laughing?
“Never go running with overalls or a ponytail. The perpetrator can grab you. Just in general, I think overalls are a bad idea… Better paranoid than dead,” is one of the lines that stuck with me. This line is a part of a scenario with five women sitting around a table casually talking about sexual assault. One of the women is reading a list of things to do to avoid being raped or sexually assaulted. Like it’s that easy. Don’t wear overalls! You’ll be protected for life! This line in the movie actually scared me tremendously because this is exactly what we should NOT be teaching students. Instead, teach the perpetrators, not the victims. A well-known fact is that your rapist is likely someone you know, not someone running behind you. This idea also feeds into the incredibly wrong theory that the person was raped because of something they wore, such as overalls or a ponytail.
So what did others think about this film? First-year Ava Atkinson with other floormates felt so strongly against the film that they decided to make a petition to replace the film with a more effective one. Atkinson states, “I cried the entire time. If my friends who had been sexually assaulted were next to me, they shouldn’t have to sit through that and feel like that. I understand that they wanted to use survivors’ stories from Santa Clara, but they did not execute it correctly.”
To make it seem inclusive, the film shows one example of a man being raped by a woman. If you’re showing an hour-long movie about sexual assault, do better than one example. Sophomore Adi Miriyala says that he may not feel as strongly against the film, but as a man “it makes you feel like you can’t do anything right.” Men are already significantly less likely to report sexual assault or rape in fear of society’s reaction, and what does this movie do? It tells the students that men are monsters and that it’s extremely rare for them to be assaulted.
Look, we get it. This movie was made about ten years ago and the intentions were good. SCU clearly cared enough to try to make a movie on campus so it related more to students. I’m not saying that this is a good reason to show the film, but we can appreciate that SCU wants everyone to be educated and safe. At the very least, the movie led to an incredibly fruitful conversation afterwards.