Every two minutes a person is sexually assaulted within the United States.
The documentary, Every Two Minutes, features the stories of sexual assault survivors as they illustrate the struggles surrounding this unspoken issue within our society. As both men and women bravely break the silence, their varying stories reveal similar themes that extend beyond our culture’s traditional understanding of this violence. From every age, gender, and socioeconomic class, these survivors bring a face to the incredibly prevalent, yet under-reported, population of survivors.
Among the film’s diverse group of survivors is Michigan’s Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. Breaking her own silence surrounding her college sexual assault during a ‘Right to Life’ debate on the Senate floor, Whitmer has become an advocate for those affected by sexual assault. In the film, Whitmer discusses her experiences as a newly recognized survivor and expresses the importance of shifting blame to the perpetrator, taking action, and rising for justice.
Interspersed with survivor testimonials are interviews with therapists, nurses, police, and sexual assault advocates as they unveil the largely unacknowledged community of people victimized by sexual assault. Advocates, often students, of the Michigan State University Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Team are followed during 24-hour shifts for the program’s crisis hotline and medical advocacy response unit. The advocacy emergency response bag presents as a silent narrative within the film. As the bag weaves through the various stories and testimonials of those immersed in responding to sexual violence, it serves a constant reminder that sexual assault is not an abstract problem, but one that occurs within our communities every day.
Every Two Minutes is a call for change in the way we view, educate, and treat those affected by sexual assault. The film asks us to tear down the myths and rape schema popularly illustrated within our society, and to finally just listen and believe.
Jenny Berggren, a new MSU alum, is heading face-first into the field of video production, focusing on storytelling that inspires people. She is motivated by God’s grace in her everyday life, and hopes to explore and hike the created world. In the mean time, she blogs and thinks about food.
Nolly Dakroury is a Journalism senior specializing in Fiction Film Production, Documentary Studies and International Development. She worked as a reporter intern in Egypt, where she was born and raised, in the summer of 2013 where she covered some protests. She then worked for Michigan State University’s newspaper The State News as a reporter and then as the editor for the campus section. Other than her interest in film, Nolly also is interested in fashion, world culture and heritage, especially her own.
Carter Ellwood is a recent MSU grad with a bachelors in Media in Information. He is an aspiring professional editor who hopes to carry on documentary work with an emphasis on sports. He also looks to further help out non-profits with video and creative services to spread their messages to a wider audience. In everyday life he is an avid cook, lover of sloths and a fiercely proud redhead.
Kirk Mason is a recent graduate from Michigan State University with degrees in Humanities and Documentary film production. His interest in environmental and socioeconomic issues, as well as the understanding that video is an incredibly powerful tool, has taken him to a dozen countries while making documentaries. His other current projects include documentaries about illegal organ trafficking in Bangladesh, and lifestyle adaptation to climate change in rural communities in northern Tanzania. Kirk enjoys playing frisbee, riding his bike, and Indian cuisine.
Anna Myers is a senior in Professional Writing at MSU focusing on digital communication and writing for non-profits. After graduation she hopes to work for a non-profit promoting urban and sustainable agriculture. When not making web sites, Anna enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing instruments poorly.
Ian Siporin is a senior at MSU. He is currently a double major, studying Arts & Humanities and Film production. Ian is passionate about social justice and art activism, hoping to be able to one day help dismantle systems of oppression through film and other mediums. When not being dissatisfied with the world, Ian finds joy in playing music and deconstructing layers of jokes.
Logan Stark served on active duty in the Marine Corps from 2007-11. He completed three tours overseas, including one to Afghanistan with the Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment as a scout sniper. Currently he is a senior at Michigan State University in the professional writing program.
Laura Swanson, a student at Michigan State University, studies Telecommunications Media and Information specializing in Documentary Film. For the past three years, she has been a Sexual Assault Advocate and a Supervising Back-Up Staff member with the MSU Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Team. Laura is also a volunteer and advocate with The Firecracker Foundation, which provides therapy to child survivors of sexual trauma. In addition to her advocacy work, Laura has coordinated various events to raise awareness regarding sexual and domestic violence. In 2013 she Co-Coordinated the Lansing Area Take Back the Night event and is currently a Co-Director and Co-Producer of the MSU Vagina Monologues. Laura continues to shed light on the issue of sexual violence by speaking about “Rape Culture” at various campus events and holding workshops on sexual health within the community. She is currently developing a dance therapy class for survivors of sexual trauma, set to begin in Fall of 2014.