WATCH: “Maybe If It Were a Nice Room” Tells the Story of Too Many Survivors

Toronto filmmaker Alicia Harris gives voice to survivors of rape and sexual assault in her short film Maybe If It Were A Nice Room.

In the film, Harris tells her personal story of assault through poetry spoken over footage of empty bedrooms. She chose to use bedrooms in a film about sexual assault to illustrate that rape can happen at home—a fact too many women, and men, unfortunately know first-hand.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that in the U.S., one in 6 women and one in 33 men are the victims of attempted or completed rape. They also found that in 75 percent of reported rapes, the victim knew the perpetrator. That number jumps to 93 percent in cases of rape where the victim is under 18. College-aged women are especially likely to be a victim of sexual assault by someone they know. A study by the National Institute of Justice showed that nine out of 10 women assaulted in college knew their rapist.

“Our definition of ‘rapist’ needs to evolve,” Harris told Ms. “Rapists aren’t just masked men on the street, sometimes they are people you love who take advantage of you in a seemingly safe bedroom. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape. I had to make this film to come to terms with this statement myself.”

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-33-45-pmKaty Howell is an editorial intern at Ms. and a PR and Sociology senior at a private liberal arts university in Kentucky. She is the social media coordinator for the web series “Life Noggin” and the founding member of the College Democrats chapter on her campus. When Katy isn’t busy, you can find her crying over how much she loves dogs. She has a Twitter, just so you know.

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