The New York premiere of I Am Evidence at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival was an emotional reunion for the film’s creators, subjects and producers. The documentary, which investigates the rape kit backlog and the lack of justice for rape survivors, advocates for change, and highlights the work being done by justice officials and law enforcement.
Following the screening, film directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir were joined by executive producer Mariska Hargitay, film subject Ericka and Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy to discuss the documentary and the advocacy it promotes.
“The rape kit backlog is a perfect microcosm of how women are treated in this country.” - Mariska Hargitay
When asked how the film came together, Hargitay stressed the importance of raising awareness about this injustice. “People are outraged, nobody can believe this,” explained Hargitay. “We all assume this is America: If a woman is raped and has the courage to come forward and get a rape kit done, you’d just assume that the kit is tested.”
Director Trish Adlesic added, “It’s a monumental moment because no one can say now that they didn’t know. There’s no turning back now, it’s out. We are all evidence and we have every opportunity now to actually do something to change this.”
“This issue encompasses so much.” - Geeta Gandbhir
Director Geeta Gandbhir was quick to note the issue of the rape kit backlog is far more complicated than untested kits alone: “This film talks about systemic institutional racism, it talks about discrimination towards women, violence against women. It’s a public safety issue and we wanted to make a survivor-centric film that helped bring this issue to light.”
“If I didn’t face it then, I didn’t know if I would have another opportunity to.” - Ericka
Film subject and survivor Ericka spoke about why it was important to tell her story: “These past two years of filming, I was also prosecuting my case and continuing to push for the greater goal, so that other people would find healing and safety.”
Not all cities are tackling the rape kit backlog head on, but Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy encouraged viewers to keep fighting on: “You can’t be human and not feel something about this. I’m hoping that some of those cities who are sitting on this see this film and are moved to do something about it.”
I Am Evidence is coming soon to HBO.
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