Victim/Suspect (2023) Documentary Review: An elaborate exposé, detailing the plight of sexual assault victims

An elaborate exposé, detailing the plight of sexual assault victims

There’s is a widely mentioned saying that goes, “Always trust the victim when they come out with rape allegations because you would rather be accused of believing a liar than a rapist’ This statement becomes a pretty solid argument in the case of this documentary movie, currently airing on Netflix.

The documentary follows the story of a young journalist named Rachel de Leon who sets out to study a pattern around victims of sexual assault. She discovers that a large number of victims were made to recant their statements and instead were charged for false reporting rape cases. The documentary deals with three such victims, one of whom sadly ended her life due to the counter-accusation against her.

Victim/Suspect sheds light on the true nature of the crimes committed and the shoddy investigation that seemed like a pattern with the cops. While watching the documentary one may think and rethink if reporting a sexual assault was even going to make a difference. This one gets victims to rethink their decisions, in fear of being turned into a suspect to be sent to prison despite suffering physical assault/abuse.

The movie leads the viewers to introspect the plight of sexual assault and the power play that comes with these cases. None of the victims were interviewed by female cops which further proves the power dynamics that came into play when the cops were trying to lead these victims into doubting themselves.

Since most of these cases have a similar pattern, the victims are gaslit by the cops into believing that they did consent to their assailants, making for a case of manipulation for a victim who is already in a terrible place. The most satisfying moment in this documentary stems from Rachel finally able to get an interview with the cop in charge of one of the three cases.

Rachel manages to trap the cop when she claims that the actual suspect was a repeat sexual offender. She asks why the suspect wasn’t even interviewed, which stumps the officer. His frantic movements pacing around the room are proof of how he, and many others like him, had mishandled so many similar sexual assault cases.

The documentary is a great watch and cuts to the chase as it states facts directly instead of beating around the bush. The fact that most of the cops and suspects, in this case, chose not to interact with Rachel is further proof of the fact that there’s so much wrong on in the criminal justice system.

This could be an emotional watch for victims of sexual assault but the documentary spares viewers the gory details of physical assault. The victims often break down into tears when they discuss their cases and it is particularly emotional to see Rachel break down when she discusses the story of one of the victims that died by suicide due to the trauma of her assault and the aftermath of it.

Victim/Suspect will infuriate most watchers and lead one to wonder if there is any benefit to reporting a sexual assault in an event when victims are counter-accused of “wasting” someone’s time. Despite that, with people like Rachel and the team of lawyers and police advisers she works with, there is hope and strength for women all over the world.

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  • Verdict - 9/10

1 thought on “Victim/Suspect (2023) Documentary Review: An elaborate exposé, detailing the plight of sexual assault victims”

  1. Everyone should see this for the portrayal of the Reid Technique of interrogation and the idea that a cop can use ruses to trap people into false statements DONT EVER TALK TO A COP!

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