How can the depiction of anything as repulsive as rape be a part of art or entertainment? Jonathan Kaplan’s The Accused (1988) reaches its disturbing climax as we are shown in a flashback the brutal gangbanging of a young woman, Sarah. Earlier on in the film, the Deputy District Attorney, suspecting that Sarah would not appear convincing at court, made a deal with the defence attorneys of the rapists. The charge had been changed to reckless endangerment leading to 2½–5 years prison sentences. But this is not enough for Sarah; she insists on having proper satisfaction for her humiliation: the fact of her rape must go on record. In a new trial, the charge is criminal solicitation: a band of spectators encouraged the rapists by shouting, chanting, and clapping. The flashback is motivated by a statement given in the witness box by a young man who, like many other people in the bar in which the rape took place, passively watched it happen.
KeywordsPhysical Violence Prison Sentence Defence Attorney Structural Violence Retributive Justice
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