“The Voiceless” film leaves an emotional impact

Thomas Shreve

To kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month the Memorial Union hosted the premiere screening of the documentary “The Voiceless”, followed by a panel of the film’s cast and crew.

The film features five male victims of sexual assault and is simply an hour of them each telling their diverse and heartbreaking stories.

Before the showing, creator of the film and ISU alum, Vanessa McNeal, took the stage to explain why she decided to make this documentary. She claimed she was rebelling against our society’s stigma of talking about sexual assault and abuse, especially when it comes to men. Before the film, McNeal told the audience it “may be hard to watch” and she was spot on.

It’s a very simple concept, five men speaking directly to the camera with barely any editing. This means no reenactment, no B-roll just directly from the source. This method helps make it incredibly powerful.

In fact, powerful is an understatement. Many times during the hour long presentation I teared up, these stories are raw and emotional. These people’s stories are reality and they are so often overlooked, so I applaud these brave men for having the courage to share these personal testimonies.

Once the film was over, a few members of the cast and crew joined on stage for a Q&A session. This included two of the five men from the film, Will and Jassim. Seeing them in the video was one thing but watching them actually speak onstage was just another reminder that these were real stories of real people. The panel only got more intense when Will broke down crying while remember pieces of his story and Jassim spoke to the fact that he is unable to press charges because his incident happened overseas and he would be labeled a criminal.

At the very end, McNeal took the stage again to urge the audience to spread the stories they witnessed as well as share the film with as many people as possible. She also informed students that they can also make a difference by educated themselves, attending similar events and creating a conversation.