Womanist Musings: New Angelina Jolie Movie Turns Rape Into Love Story?

UPDATE: Via Huffington Post

Angelina Jolie has cut short the shooting of her first movie in Bosnia, her producer said, after rumors that it portrayed a relationship between a rapist and his victim sparked protests from women assaulted during the Bosnian War.

Jolie had originally planned to shoot scenes for her movie for about ten days in Bosnia, but now her crew will film the scenes in just three or four days, said Edin Sarkic, Jolie’s Bosnian producer. Jolie herself will only briefly visit the set, he said.

The change of plans came after rumors surrounding the movie’s storyline angered an association of women raped during the war in Bosnia who heard the film was about a rape victim falling in love with her rapist. They pressured city officials to withdraw Jolie’s filming permit in October.

The rumors proved to be untrue, but still cast a shadow on the project.

Renee from Womanist Musings wrote on Friday about a new film rumored to be about a woman—portrayed by Angelina Jolie—who falls in love with her rapist during the Bosnian War.

During the Bosnian War, rape was used as a weapon to terrorize and demoralize.  It was an attack aimed specifically at women.  In most cases women were subject to multiple rapes by various men….

It is disgusting to suggest that a woman could come to love her rapist. I am further troubled that Jolie would continue with this project after the victims themselves raised an objection.  She does not have the right to dramatize their stories for profit.  Even if she feels that the story must be told, or she desires to bring attention to rape as a crime of war (I am being generous here, because I believe her motive is financial profit), such a project should only be undertaken with the support of the survivors.  Furthermore, this story is not Jolie’s to tell.  This story belongs to the survivors and if it is to be told, it should begin and end with them.  So much has already been taken from them and Jolie should respect the agency that they have.

The fact that Jolie is a woman does not make the appropriation any easier to stand and in fact it helps to break down necessary solidarity between women, which aids in fighting the sexism that we all face.  Perhaps Jolie felt that this would not be problematic because it occurs nearly five nights a week on television.  How many episodes of CSI, and Law Order have chosen to portray stories ripped out of the headlines.  They always include sensationalism and a slight change to deny the appropriation of these stories.  This is not just a crime being documented; this is direct appropriation of what is most likely the most horrific even of these women’s lives.  No thought is given to how triggering this could be to the survivor watching her experience dramatized or women who have also been raped.  The point of this is not raising awareness about the sexual violence women face, but profit. Women are continually being re-victimized. The fact that this is not noticed or acknowledged is a sign of the patriarchal world that we live in.

Read Renee’s full post at WomanistMusings.com.

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