Imagine being an 18-year-old, out-of-state freshman at The University of Arizona. It is your first month in college, and no one believes you. This narrative was true for 2010 UA alumna Jillian Corsie, a sexual assault survivor, documentary filmmaker and film editor. Corsie, 12 years after the assault, turned her experience into a documentary called Second Assault, which will be featured at the 2018 Loft Film Fest.
Second Assault is named after what sexual assault survivors often go through when they are not believed or have no support, according to Corsie. Her main message in her film for everyone is to believe each other.
“As college students, it is hard to have the tools or even general sense of how to help others in that situation,” Corsie said.
When Corsie was 18 years old, she came to UA and lived in Coronado Residence Hall, where she was sexually attacked.
When she reported this in 2005, law enforcement did not give the case the attention it deserved, she said, and instead decided that the assault was consensual and offered Corsie the advice of “don’t mix alcohol with beauty.” Afterward, the police officer handed Corsie his business card with her case number on it.
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Following law enforcement’s failure to give her case the attention it needed, Corsie said she stayed silent about her assault for 12 years. In these 12 years, Corsie said that no one believed her — not her roommates, not her friends, not even her boyfriend.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 20 to 25 percent of college women are victims of forced sex during their time in college, 27 percent of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact and more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.
In October 2016, Kelly Oxford tweeted, “Women, tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first.” Oxford’s tweet went viral, and many women responded to it. This, according to Corsie, gave her the courage to share her story for the first time publicly, including the advice the cop once gave her of “don’t mix alcohol and beauty.”
According to Corsie and Amy Rosner, Corsie’s best friend and another documentarian, the tweet may have gone viral so quickly due to the rise of the #MeToo movement, a movement against sexual harassment and assault.
Corsie’s story went viral, and within 12 hours, her story was shared across platforms. Filmmakers had an interest in telling that story. Since Corsie is a filmmaker herself, she felt as though she would be the best person to tell her story, she said.
“We did not only want to confront Jillian’s past, but more importantly address the system that is broken and that continues to fail sexual assault survivors every day,” Rosner said.
According to Rosner and Corsie, they originally had no agenda, which allowed them to have full control of the film.
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“When kids are young, boys are taught to be aggressive while girls, in turn, are taught to be hard to get,” Rosner said. “Those attitudes and behaviors are embedded into society, which eventually creates a rape society.”
Second Assault is a documentary that is a “conversation,” Corsie said. The film concerns rape culture and what options people have if it was to occur to them, she added.
“Rape culture is everyone’s problem, not just women,” Rosner said.
Corsie and Rosner said they hope that the film speaks not only to college students, but also to adult men.
“Men need to be involved and comfortable in the conversation, because, unfortunately more times than not, they are the gender that are perpetuating it,” Rosner said.
The film is one of about 43 that will be featured in the Loft Film Festival, ranging from short films to documentaries to classics like that of 1992’s Wayne’s World.
According to AJ Simon, assistant manager at the Loft, “[Second Assault] will do very well here, and patrons will be very excited to see it. The more information the public can have in such an important issue, the better. It can help the UA be more diligent.”
Rosner and Corsie, who are both co-directors of the film, have both won best director, best documentary and audience choice awards from other film festivals.
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Second Assault will premiere in Tucson at the Loft Film Festival Sunday, Nov. 11, at 12 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online or at the Loft Cinema.
There will also be a screening on campus at the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences Building, Room 224, at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 13. Following the screening, there will be a discussion with Corsie, a UAPD officer and potentially UA’s new Title IX officer., Ronald Wilson.
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