In response to “Unbelievable is not for the faint of heart” published on September 26:
Before I read the article “Unbelievable is not for the faint of heart,” I hadn’t heard of the show it discusses, which is about a woman who has been sexually assaulted.
The writer, Binyamin Novetsky, ends the article with “[Unbelievable] is definitely not for the faint of heart,” which is also the headline. Essentially, this article seems to say that if you are “faint of heart,” you cannot stomach this show.
Calling those who might be triggered by this show, who might watch it and flash back to experiences in their past “faint of heart” is not okay. I started seeing myself as a survivor and not as a victim over a decade after I was sexually assaulted. For the first time in my life, I felt like even though these things had happened to me, I was not broken anymore.
If I can’t watch Unbelievable, I am not weak. I am not “faint of heart.” I have been through this and I have come out on the other side and I have made myself whole again. But not being able to watch this show does not take away from the strength that I have only just started to acknowledge in myself.
The writer says that he “can’t justify recommending this show to anyone.” He calls it “not an accessible story.” But it is accessible. For far too many people in this world, this story is too accessible, too familiar, too close to home.
I appreciate what you’re doing here. I appreciate that you acknowledge that trigger warnings are important. I appreciate that you tried to watch this show.
And no part of me blames you or holds the fact that you could not continue watching against you. I probably wouldn’t be able to either.
On one hand, it’s important that people understand, that they feel the pain. But on the other hand, there are people it could truly hurt. Emotionally, mentally, physically.
For me though, knowing that depictions of sexual violence are out there in popular media makes me feel powerful. Little by little, it convinces me that I am not alone. I may not even be able to watch it, but part of me feels better knowing that there’s someone out there who might be watching it and might fight to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone ever again. And I think that justifies recommending this show.
First-year graduate student