“Unbelievable” has quickly become one of the most talked about Netflix originals. During this time of #MeToo, sexual assault survivor awareness, and true crime wave, “Unbelievable” is the story of Marie Adler, a troubled teen, reporting her rape to police but recanting her story after her story changes a little every time. She gets charged for making a false report which she accepts a guilty plea to. Except that she isn’t really guilty. It wasn’t a false report. Years later, the detectives are told about similar cases to Marie’s which leads to the eventual expungement of her record and a payout from the town, but that’s not the takeaway. It’s all about the journey. We go through the emotions with Marie as she is told that what happened to her didn’t really happen. No one understands how traumatizing it is to relive the night over and over when constantly being asked to retell the events. No one believed her. She stopped believing in herself. She found that it was easier to just say it didn’t happen and then move on. It’s a moving series and here are some of the many reasons you should watch it.

It stresses the importance of believing survivors.

This does not mean thinking the alleged defendant is immediately guilty, but it doesn’t mean understanding that survivor has clearly gone through something and they are traumatized. Specialized training on how to handle these events should be taken. Someone disclosing their assault to you is extremely difficult. The survivor also feels this societal shame even though they did not deserve what happened to them. 

Certain aspects of the show make you uncomfortable and they should.

Nothing about this show is supposed to make you feel like you’re watching a story that has singing birds and dancing trees. No, this show is serious and disturbing. It’s heartbreaking to think that someone lived with the truth for so long because other people bullied them into saying that it didn’t happen. It is difficult to watch someone in so much pain have people who were like family tell the police that they think is lying about her assault. It’s uncomfortable to know the outcome of the show but watch these cops bully a survivor into a corner to get her to recant just because the case wasn’t “prosecutable”. 

The fact that it’s a true story.

It makes it all the more cringe-worthy and earth shattering to believe that this was all based on a true story. Marie Adler is a real person with a real story. In fact, it should be at the forefront of the sexual assault survivor advocacy. It should be an example to how law enforcement officers are trained, giving women the resources they need from the moment they are seen by police or by hospital staff, and when it comes to the conversation on believing survivors.

Run, don’t walk, to watch one of the most important Netflix series ever.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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