The Assault (2014 Lifetime)
Cast: Makenzie Vega, Gary Weeks, Khandi Alexander, Erin Cole
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Sam Gleason lives in a town where high school football is the backbone of the community. When she accuses a member of the team of committing heinous acts against her on a night she can’t even remember, will anyone believe her?
The movie starts on a Friday night Homecoming football game. Football players and cheerleaders come onto the field. Things look normal until a crying girl stands in the middle of the football field with a can of gasoline. She dumps it all over herself and lights herself on fire.
The cheerleader’s name is Sam; she has been sexually assaulted and tried to kill herself. Detective Jodi Miller questions her and identifies her rapist. Christopher Burch. Her father, Dan, can’t understand how he missed the signs. He has been rasing his daughter alone since his wife passed away. Dan goes home and finds a dirty football jersey in Sam’s closet. He turns it in as evidence.
Cristopher tells the detectives that it was not rape; Sam is just a slutty cheerleader who slept with her ex-boyfriend’s best friend.
Sam comes home from the hospital and checks her social media; she has lost her “friends.” Her ex-boyfriend Reed stands by her side and gives her rides to school. He wants to know why she lit herself on fire. She demands to know what happened at the party. She remembers leaving a football game and waking up on her front lawn bruised, and in so much pain, she couldn’t even walk. Reed tells her that he doesn’t know what happened to her, but is on her side.
At school, Sam is shunned by her former teammates. The cheerleading coach sees her tells her about practice. (Like, have some chill cheerleading coach.) Surprisingly, Sam goes back to practice and is bullied.
Sam’s alternative friend, Frankie, has screengrabs of photos, tweets, and videos taken from the night of the assault. She brings the evidence to the detective, who says it is just hearsay and doesn’t prove anything. Then the detective goes into a weird and aggressive line of questioning to show her what will happen if she speaks out. Sam needs to be sure of what happened and speak up for herself.
Detective Jodi brings in the football team and cheerleading squad for questioning. She starts piecing things together, and so do Franki and Sam.
Dan is upset when he learns that his daughter got wasted at a party. He says he taught her better than that. Sam feels like he is blaming her.
Through testimony, social media, and flashback, we learn the following. Sam and Reed fight after a game and break up. Sam goes out with the football team and a few cheerleaders. She drinks a lot and takes sexy photos in a park. Chris and Sam have sex in Jordan’s car. They dropped her off at home. Chris claims that it was consensual and called her a slut. There is a missing hour in the timeline that is unaccounted for.
Sam and Franki post everything online to try and figure out what really happened. A (Clearly edited) video of Sam consenting to sleep with the whole football teach is released online. Sam recognizes Reed’s bag in the footage and questions that he is telling the truth.
The coach takes a cellphone from one of the players. He finds Reed looking through his things. The coach is the one who leaked the video to make Sam look bad. What an asshole. Eventually, he leaves the real evidence with Jodi… who is his sister. Who knew!
Jodi gets an eye witness testimony and DNA evidence. They can charge him with assault. The video is more than enough evidence to up the charge. Jodi plays the video in full for Sam to see what really happened.
Sam and Reed fight as she remembers. Then she parties with the football team and gest really drunk. She passes out at a party and is incapacitated. The football team takes her shirt off and takes pictures of her. Other people at the party watch this and do nothing. Chris carries Sam into the bedroom, and she tries to fight them off. They all gang-rape her. Reed shows up at the party and can’t believe what happened. He knew the whole time.
Dan, Sam’s Dad, storms out of the precinct and beats Chris. The team is released on bail as they await charges and continue to play football. Sam and Frankie hack into the school system and play the rape video audio in the middle of a game. Sam stands on the football field and lets the whole town what happened to her.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org. to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. (You are not alone.)
Based on the 2012 Steubenville High School rape case.
Minority Report: Detective Jodi, Leanne, Jordan, Sam, Coach, Grace, football players,
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*Photo Credit: © 2014 Lifetime