Sexual Violence Against Women in New Zealand

She’ll Be Right

Directed by Frances Pavletch and Carl Naus (2020)

Film Review

She’ll be Right is a film about New Zealand’s extremely high rate of sexual violence against women. In a recent survey at Otago University, more than 1/3 of female students reported incidents of sexual assault. The format consists of a succession of soundbites from #MeTooNZ activists interspersed with a variety of video clips illustrating the issues they raise.

The film highlights a number of factors contributing to New Zealand’s sexual assault epidemic, including

  • New Zealand’s binge drinking culture
  • the link between colonization and male privilege
  • a culture that values men over women and teaches men sexual entitlement
  • consent laws that place the burden on women to say no, rather than requiring men to seek consent
  • an adversarial legal system that makes no pretense of trying to ascertain the factual basis of victim complaints (only 13% of rape cases result in conviction)

The documentary also reveals that imprisoning convicted sex offenders (New Zealand has the second highest incarceration rate in the world) is totally ineffective at rehabilitating them or protecting Kiwi women from sexual assault. It explores the restorative justice process as one potential alternative to warehousing sex offenders in prison.

The video can be viewed free at https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/shell-be-right/