A blood-boiling documentary that unveils a broken system that turns victims into criminals.
Here is our review of the 2023 Netflix true crime Documentary film Victim/Suspect, released on May 23rd, 2023.
It is easy to make the victim the problem, and this documentary is the gut-wrenching reality that this happens all over the USA when it comes to women reporting sex crimes.
Victim/Suspect is Netflix’s latest true crime documentary, Directed by Nancy Schwartzman, the story follows investigative journalist Rachel de Leon on her four-year quest for the truth.
De Leon examines a pattern of young women being ignored by authorities after reporting sexual assaults, and during her intensive reporting, De Leon found over 160 cases over the past decade in which the person voluntarily reporting to police was turned into the suspect and then charged with false reporting.
This could have led to jail sentences which could be ten years+. Now, of course, if the system is being taken advantage of, there should be consequences, but in this documentary, this is not the case.
Victim/Suspect unveils how policing across the US enables law enforcement to turn survivors of sexual assault into accused criminals. If you’ve watched many true-crime documentaries, you’ll see repeat techniques used by police to manipulate and control situations for their desired outcome.
Through camera footage and reports, audiences can see that a lack of training, blatant sexism, lying, and laziness create a system that fails women tremendously. In many cases, it’s clear there was so much more the police could have done.
In most cases, suspects weren’t even identified; if they were, they weren’t appropriately interviewed.
We see de Leon conducting her reports, re-watching footage, and explaining why she continued to investigate; everything leading up to her publishing her report. De Leon discusses how she can create a professional boundary while investigating and why that’s important.
Now you may think this series is biased towards these victims, but as de Leon delves into the cases, we break down how these victims were mistreated and how the way in which the police acted was not in the best interest of these women.
It’s discussed how and why police will deter or stop sex crimes being reported, and this is primarily due to workload, lack of staff, and the fact sex crimes take longer to process. A detective gives an example of how easy it can be to stop someone under the age of 21 from reporting a sex crime.
Hearing this is deflating, and it’s hard to accept that, in many cases, the people who are meant to help and protect you won’t do that.
The interviews with victims are honest, as we see them on a journey of healing and trying to get justice. There are also interviews with the victims’ families about how they tried to help their daughters.
I am glad these women/victims are able to take control of their story and share it with audiences around the world; hopefully, this gives them some closure and comfort, and they can move forward. Unfortunately, in some cases, it was too late for these victims, and some felt so lost and bullied by the police they took their own life.
The documentary does end with a ray of hope; that the victims are appealing, giving talks to law enforcement regarding training in dealing with sex crimes, and that law enforcement wants to do better.
Is Victim/Suspect Good or Bad?
Overall this documentary is good, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing to watch. With a runtime of one hour and thirty-five minutes, there is a strong pace and much information.
Unfortunately, this documentary is another example of how the systems put in place to protect us can fail us miserably.
Is Victim/Suspect Worth Watching?
Yes — it’s an important report, and it’ll invoke emotions from you as a viewer and make you really think about the criminal justice system, especially in the USA.
Thankfully we have journalists who do the work the police should be doing in the first place.
What did you think of the Netflix true crime documentary film Victim/Suspect? Comment below.
2 thoughts on “Victim/Suspect Review – an intense report of victim blaming”
Brilliant. Worrying – I’d hoped for some reassurance this no longer happened. I’d like to see a UK based one to see if it happens here too.
This made me sick. Bringing a horrible memory to the forefront of my mind.
I had been on my own for 2 years. At age 16 in 1982 I was with a twenty something hitch hiking. We were picked up by a man and a woman. They were so nice. Took us to a out of the way hotel. She acted like a big sister and friend. The guys left to get pizza. She started fixing my hair and make up. Said let’s get pretty while they are gone. Well, he returned without my boyfriend. Said he got in a fight and went to jail. Said they would help me. Next thing I know they pick up another man. We went to a different hotel, nicer in the city of Cincinnati. Said we couldn’t do anything till morning. The man kept trying to touch me through the night. Finally I laid on the floor. The woman went downstairs. The first man came back to the room showed me a gun and raped me. Then the second man came in and raped me.
They took me back to the first hotel, and told me to walk down the road to a garage, I would find my luggage. The garage called the police. They picked me up, I told them what happened. They got a call over the fadio, about a male hitchhiker on the interstate. Located him, dropped me off on the side of the highway with him and left. I was 16! This was my second relationship, I was a child. He blamed me and said when he went in to get the pizza the man took off and left him there. I believe I was sold to the second man. Raped by both. And every single adult in my life and this incident failed
a lost and abused little girl.