Sarah Moshman, Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker, discusses her film Nevertheless and its importance.
Nevertheless: A Documentary on Sexual Harassment in School and the Workplace
The process to make this film began when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. I wanted to help make the world a safer place for her. I formatted the film to highlight seven stories, capturing different dimensions of the MeToo movement, gender-based violence, sexual assault and harassment, and rape.
One story that did have a positive result was Juliet and Lily Bon’s story.
Lily, a middle school student, showed up to school in leggings, and the principal told her that she was breaking the dress code because leggings are “too distracting for the boys.” When Lily got home, she told her mom, Juliet, what had happened. Juliet wrote a letter to the principal, and forwarded it to a local journalist. The journalist posted it on her blog, and it went viral.
The students at the middle school protested, posting signs in the boys’ and girls’ restrooms. Some of the boys at the school wore leggings. After several PTA meetings, the dress code throughout the district changed for both the middle school and the high school. It now states that everyone is “in charge of their own distractions.” The fight for an updated dress code challenges the old way of thinking and sticks up for girls’ autonomy over their own bodies.
All of the people featured in the documentary demonstrate their courage and resilience. Everyone has to decide whether to speak up about sexual harassment they have been subjected to, weighing the impact that doing so would have on their lives. As they made their choices, they realized that speaking up isn’t only about the short-term affect, but the long-term cultural effect to keep building on the framework of the MeToo movement.
You can watch Nevertheless by screening it through IndieFlix or going to neverthelessfilm.com. It’s important to have the conversation about sexual crimes with everyone, including boys and men. Men and boys need to learn about the experiences women are having and identify ways to be allies.