Read the article that describes why this topic is so important for our community and our world today.
Left by her parents to be raised with her romance novel writing AUNT CLAIRE, 32, JANE STEWART, 15, wants to be a poet. No one in high school shares her passion for obscure literature or adhering fiercely to one’s beliefs. Then movie star actor and writer, ALEX MARTIN, 42, comes back to his old high school as the biggest donor to a new video production department. In a conversation she didn’t see coming, Jane finds someone just like her – a man who quotes D.H. Lawrence and Theodore Roethke. Martin, captivated by her unusual bright spirit, invites her to his hotel room to read her poetry. While Jane thinks she has found someone who understands her need to create, he creates chaos by raping her. In Alex’s mind, it ‘s just another night, another girl. For Jane, all safety shatters.
She collapses into a shell of silence. Aunt Claire’s world of romance no longer has a happy ending. With the support of Jane’s best friend SAM, 17, Claire speaks when Jane cannot. The people who love Jane fight to bring her back to life, encouraging her to press charges. But with a bottomless pocket for private detectives and wealthy lawyers, Alex gives his finest performance as the wronged party in a world of “girls who lie to get attention.”
The spark of anger, almost extinguished in Jane, is re-ignited and channeled into positive action in a full impact self-defense class. Encouraged to unfreeze and find her voice again, Jane begins the slow journey “home.” In an unexpected turn of events, she and Sam catch Alex before he hurts another young girl. While Jane loses the court case, justice is served in a bold confrontation with Alex that allows Jane to reclaim a sense of freedom and self-control. And ultimately, it is Jane’s connection with her inner life and with the strength of the creative impulse to create meaning (by writing poetry) that brings her back to a possible future.
Deborah’s relationship to this film is highly personal.
Screenwriter Deborah Allen wrote JANE based upon her own life. She was raped at the age of fifteen and has gone on to live with and heal from that experience not only by writing this script, but working with women and girls in both the United States, Europe, and Japan – using theatre tools to explore difficult emotions, traumatic events, and sexual mythologies. Creating JANE with a teenage film crew feels like the great turning of the wheel – a trauma now turned to larger meaning and usefulness. Deborah, who is 59-years-old, has taken the same journey as her character, and we are grateful for our students at HARA to have a chance to be mentored by those who know that the creative life is a significant force for a lifetime of learning and changing.
For a high school student, and especially for girls, this topic remains surprisingly hidden and taboo.
On one hand, teenage girls are trained by much of the media to think of their sexual allure as a potentially successful agent in their empowerment. At the same time, the conversation about sexual predators seems impersonal and far away. And yet
(according to the U.S. Department of Justice), somewhere in America a woman is raped every two minutes, and almost 40% are between the ages of 14-17. Most tell no one.
Teenage boys, at the same time, are flooded with one of the most powerful hormones in the world (testosterone) right at the time that they are breaking away from potential mentoring from their parents. They need other young men and older men to help them sort out how to harness this huge potentially creative source of energy. Our challenge as artists is to open up this conversation for young people in a way they can hear it and become stronger for having paid attention – instead of being so overwhelmed, embarrassed, or frightened that they tune out.
Young people feel the possibility of their own potential
The film must be engaging,alive and character driven so that young people can feel the possibility of their own potential strength through identification with characters they relate to and/or admire. Professional readers of the script (Hollywood screen doctor Michael Brown, Maud Nadler of HBO, Obie award winning actress Joan MacIntosh) think it meets these requirements.
Why JANE now?
“Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been beaten, tortured and raped—atrocities beyond anything that I have ever heard of or could imagine… For a problem so big and so complicated, where do you begin? What I have found and what I believe is that you begin somewhere, anywhere, but you must begin. You must act. As you read this, consider your humanity. Consider for one moment if you or your sister, your mother or your daughter lived in such a dire situation—then act.”
The dashingly handsome Daniel Craig is most commonly known for starring in the most recent installments of the Bond movies, however he also stars in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series about a follows a young woman who is violated by men, including her father, at a young age. With the help of a passionate journalist (Daniel Craig), she seeks justice. He also stars in a short film called “Are We Equal?” where he appears as his Bond character.
“Violence against women threatens the lives of more young women than cancer, malaria or war. It affects one in three women worldwide. It leaves women mentally scarred for life, and it is usually inflicted by a family member.”
“No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone.”
“One in three women will encounter violence in some way, shape or form against them in their lifetime….That’s an extraordinary statistic. Yet do we ever hear it?”
(When talking about the 2011 Real Man Campaign) “I wanted to take part in this campaign because it’s so easy to forget the many women who live their lives in fear because of domestic violence. Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse their partners.”
“I’ve had two girlfriends who were victims of child sexual abuse, and one was also later a date-rape victim. That sensitized me to the issue in a way that I hadn’t been before.”
“By not coming forward (about rape), you make yourself a victim forever.”
(When speaking out on his childhood abuse) “This is my story, so another man who has been molested may have a different story. But for me to be in this position and have what he had done to me…he gave me something to carry that I didn’t want, that I didn’t desire. And thank God, somewhere along the way, I found what you feed will grow in your life, and what you don’t will starve.”
- Between 33-66% of known sexual assault victims are age 15 or younger.
- “It is only when we speak out that we step out of the rapist’s prison, it is only when we speak out that we begin removing the poison the attack left in us.”
- Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
- Here’s the math. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey –there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.
- There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 207,754 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 152 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.
- Anyone can be raped. In the US, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted as children. About one in six women and one in eleven men are raped after turning eighteen.”