Here are ten series, podcasts, and movies that give female victims a voice.
- My Favorite Murder
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark tell each other dark tales of true crime, lightening the mood with comedic banter. Yes, it is a True-Crime comedy podcast, but these two women use their platform to spread stories of the true dangers of the world. If you like conversational podcasts that don’t shy away from difficult topics, I’m sure you’ll fit right in with the podcast’s fan-cult: The Murderinos.
- Crime Junkie
Another true-crime podcast, Crime Junkie takes an opposite approach from MFM. Host Ashly Flowers informs her childhood best friend Brit Prawat all about cold cases, mysterious disappearances, horrific murders, and the worst of humanity. This podcast stays serious and somber, but makes sure to give every victim representation on their show.
- American Murder: The Family Next Door
In 2018, Shanann Watts and her two young daughters went missing. This Netflix documentary uses Shanann’s extensive documentation from her Facebook and texts, news video, and police body-cam footage to tell the story of what happened to the young mother and her two little girls. Incredibly produced, if you aren’t sure you want to watch stories of serial killers, this case is less violent and delves more into the psychological reasons for murder.
- Abducted in Plain Sight
Jan Broberg was kidnapped from under her parent’s nose not once—but twice—in the seventies. A twisted true story of misplaced trust, it’s hard to believe this case isn’t fiction. Jan herself is there to narrate her painful experience, along with her parents, investigators, and others connected to the crime. Set against the background of a Mormon community, I promise that once you begin to watch this Netflix documentary, you will not be able to look away.
Another true-crime podcast, Morbid is hosted by Boston locals, Ash and Alaina. They dive deep in their episodes—often telling stories across multiple—and make sure the victims are presented as the people they were before tragedy struck. The two women are fantastic storytellers and do meticulous research considering neither works as an investigator. As an added bonus, Alaina’s profession as an autopsy technician gives their listeners, known as ‘weirdos’, insight into the science of determining details of a crime.
- The Keepers
Sister Cathy Cesnik was beloved by the students at an all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore, MD—then she disappeared. And that’s when the story begins to develop beyond a missing nun. Former students, officials, teachers, and journalists take turns telling Cathy’s story. Some of the former students reveal further shocking revelations of how they were victimized behind closed doors at Keough High School. Another Netflix documentary series that you have to see to believe.
- Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
While the most recent mystery concerning the infamous millionaire is the circumstances surrounding his death, after watching this Netflix series, that will be the last question on your mind. This series recounts a man of wealth who began his career as a teacher who would eventually become connected to politicians, former presidents from both parties, and even a prince. Women who were just young girls when they met them remember the horrors they either witnessed or endured due to him and his associates in this gripping series. Some of the women interviewed do so with fear of retribution and threats of gag-orders. After watching this, it’s hard to ignore how our criminal-justice system favors the rich.
If you would rather watch a dramatic rendering of a true crime story, this one might be the next show you binge on Netflix instead of working on a paper. Unbelievable tells the story of a young girl’s fight to find someone who believes she is telling the truth. It also interweaves the investigation of two female detectives, newly acquainted, looking for the same serial rapist. Though you will no doubt be uncomfortable at times, these stories need to be heard and taken seriously. Women are too often the victims of violent crime, and too often they are ignored by authorities if they find the courage to report their assault.
- Dirty John
You might recognize this as the TV series starring Connie Britton, but did you know it was based on a true story catalogued by a podcast? In Dirty John, the woman who unknowingly married a conman and her two daughters report on the harrowing years that “John” was in their life. Both the podcast and the TV show are bingeworthy. If this podcast intrigues you, I encourage you to look into other podcasts by Wondery.
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
Michelle McNamara was an investigative journalist who wrote a novel—which was sadly published posthumously. Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, a true crime writer named Paul Haynes, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen dove into her web of research to finish her book. Now adapted into an HBO documentary series, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark explores McNamara’s search for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker who terrorized California in the seventies and eighties. Sadly, McNamara was unable to unmask the “Golden-State Killer” (She was actually the one who gave him this title, which is way less confusing than EARONS). Though the book ends on a cliffhanger, the man Michelle had been dedicated to unmasking was apprehended weeks after its publication. The book is one of the best true crime novels I’ve read. If you aren’t into reading or don’t have the time, then maybe try watching the HBO series. Have fun watching shows, listening to podcasts, and diving into a book!