I joined the team creating Are You Hearing Me? because I believe that it’s important to create a safe and open platform for women who have experienced sexual and physical assault. There are far too many people who have been attacked, violated, and expected to endure in silence.
So many of us have become desensitized to the idea of sexual assault and we don’t think about all the ways that one event can truly disrupt a person’s life. We say “rape is bad” and then shy away from the conversations that could help us end rape culture. There are lives behind every statistic and I think that reality is sometimes lost on us. We all know someone who has been assaulted and it makes me angry that this just keeps happening.
My main hope for this documentary is to give some peace to the women involved. After
enduring all that they have, the very least we can do is set up a platform for them to share their stories. My goal is also to create spaces for all of us to have meaningful discussion with one another so that we can change the way that we think about each other and change how we interact.
“A woman is not an object. She is not something; she is someone. You treat a woman with
respect. She is not your toy. She doesn’t owe you anything just cause you are a man. When she comes to you for comfort, you listen to her. Grow up and start treating women how they deserve to be treated.”
When Diane reached out to me about this project, I was honored that she thought of me. It felt quite surreal because when we met I was working in Development for SBIFF and later developing the website for the Summer Solstice Celebration. Neither one of us knew that we were both committed to making social justice documentaries.
I have experienced harassment, unwanted advances, and catcalling more times than I can count. I carry pepper spray, hold my car keys as a weapon, and share my location with friends if it is after dark. Is this enough? Fortunately, I have not experienced sexual or physical assault.
Still, whether or not women do take precautions and protect themselves, it is all too common for people to question, not listen, victim blame, or completely discredit women’s stories if they do become victims of assault.
This is appalling and unacceptable to me.
The reason I want to work on this film is simple. It’s time we all listen to each other more openly and try to understand each other's experiences with more compassion and less speculation. It is time we educate, inform and celebrate the beautiful. We are doing this with the artwork of the women participating in our film.
When I first started, I began with transcriptions and soon after began building out the website and social media pages and now I manage and update them. I also assist Diane with anything else that comes up whether it is outreach, crowdfunding or research. I am using experience with social media and with social justice documentaries - so we agreed that I would take on the role of Assistant Producer. I am grateful to have such an important role in the making of this film. It is a subject that I feel very strongly about.
I think what Diane is doing is brave and beautiful, and it is something that I am proud and happy to say that I am a part of - as a filmmaker, an aspiring advocate, and as a person.