All of us here at the Stop Campaign are students, and naturally, now that exams are (almost) over, we’re getting ready to binge-watch every show and movie we’ve had our eyes on throughout the semester. Unfortunately, not all the content on Netflix (or Stan or Foxtel) is survivor-friendly (looking at you, Thirteen Reasons Why), and there is truly nothing worse than a relaxing binge-watching session turning into a panic attack because there weren’t enough trigger warnings or any at all. I love my crime shows, but there are only so many times I can watch a woman being tortured to death or just casually hearing the phrase “raped and murdered” so that it can provide dramatic entertainment. If you, like me, are sick of watching shows that exploit the suffering of women, and want to watch quality content that provides educational value while simultaneously being binge-watchable, check out the recommendations below:
· Jessica Jones. The whole premise of this show is centred on Jessica’s supernatural fight against her rapist, without focusing on the assault itself. It’s all about her journey, from her point of view, and it is glorious.
· Alias Grace. Again, another show following a woman who has been abused her whole life, but told from her perspective. The most interesting aspect of this wild mini-series, based on a book by Margaret Atwood, is that it explores society’s obsession with women who have been traumatised.
· The Keepers. TRIGGER WARNING. This documentary mini-series is a rough watch but it is absolutely worth it. The stories told here are incredibly graphic, but are so truly horrendous that they must be told. It focuses on institutional abuse of children, and the lengths some men will go to to cover that up.
· Call the Midwife. I’m going to be labelled an absolute grandma for watching this but this show is about so much more than midwifery and childbirth in the 1960s. It’s about the shame that women felt about having abortions or having sex outside marriage. It covers domestic violence and covers prejudices against poor women, as well as racism. It’s a great insight into a world that was dominated by strong women.
· The Good Wife. While this show covers only a handful of rape cases, if that, it’s political and features many strong women, and is about as close to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as shows on Netflix get.
· Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Get a VPN and stream it on NBC. Steal a friend’s Foxtel account. Find a way. Watch it please.
· Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Okay, I know. This show doesn’t actually cover sexual violence BUT it is a delightfully wholesome show and covers a whole range of diverse topics, without triggering survivors. The comedy is politically correct, Terry Crews (an incredible activist for survivors who happens to be a male survivor himself) is an angel, and there is an epic tribute to the Backstreet Boys. Get on it!
· The Hunting Ground and I Am Jane Doe. Two of the most horrifying documentaries you will ever watch. If you can, do it anyway. The Hunting Ground is specifically about campus sexual violence.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any more recommendations or if you disagree with any of the content above. Happy binge-watching!
- Mina Khoshnevisan