Crossing the line

How drunk is “too drunk”?
How forward is “too forward”?
What sexual behaviour defines rape?

These are all questions raised in this powerful and unsettling film, but which are so often put to the back of the public’s mind like a pile of dirty linen. The film addresses the ambiguities and furore surrounding the issue of consent and ask the viewer “Where is your line?” – a line as frequently toed and breached as a performer’s tightrope. It is one of those films when you know that something bad is going to happen – the increasingly unfocused and disjointed scenes being just one piece of the puzzle, and you are given the decision to decide when.

The interactive video created by the Youth Club, enables viewers to click when they believe her partner’s behavior has crossed over into rape – a simple online gesture translating across a plethora of social issues and controversy. It is effective because it encourages debate, rather than simplying labelling a simplistic “right” or “wrong” to the character’s actions. Far from portraying a villian-victim impression of rape, “Where is your line” works because it emphasises the subjectivity behind the accusation, and the alchohol-goggles, cloudiness and cultural expectations so often associated with this crime. However, there is one point that the video is very clear on – rape is a crime, and if there is no consent it is rape.

The main objective of the film was to raise awareness of The Havens, a London based Crisis Centre that helps rape and sexual assault victims. It stems from research commissioned by The Havens, which revealed that almost half of men aged between 18-25 do not think it’s rape if the person changes their mind during sex. More shockingly, the survey also discovered that over 5% of young men reported that if they thought the woman was drunk that they would try and have sex with her, even if she said no.

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