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DOCUMENTARIES

Development   /  Ben Strum

Fluid

One man is on a mission to launch the gay #MeToo movement. But what does it mean to be a male victim of sexual assault?

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Impact areas

ARTS

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Ben Strum

  • PRODUCER Mel Chan & Ben Strum

Synopsis

DURATION: 75 MINUTES

Kieran’s former relationship culminated in a violent sexual assault at a remote beach. Now, he’s determined to launch the gay #MeToo movement. His first goal? To establish Australia's first-ever support group for queer men who’ve experienced intimate partner violence.

‘Fluid’ follows five survivors from Kieran’s group as they confront one of the last remaining taboos in Australian society: male victims of sexual assault.

One arc is Kieran’s mission to turn his own story into a play and perform all around Australia. Can he entertain audience and, in the process, raise awareness of abuse in same-sex relationships?

‘Fluid’ examines the precarious position that male sexual assault victims assume in a world full of Weinsteins.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In 2018, an opinion piece published by The Guardian asked: “Why hasn’t the gay community had a #MeToo moment?”

According to UK advocacy group Stonewall, 25-40% of adult gay and bisexual men have experienced sexual violence. Yet “the problem of sexual violence against men isn’t really on the public agenda yet” (ABC).

This documentary seeks to broaden the conversation about sexual violence and empower GBT (gay, bisexual and trans or gender diverse) survivors.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want our film to raise awareness of sexual harassment, assault and abuse within the gay male community. Women make up the majority of sexual assault victims and this has sparked an important conversation about sexual violence. We believe this conversation should be broadened to include the LGBTIQ community. Spotlighting the experiences of GBT (gay, bisexual and trans or gender diverse) men is important because it remains unexamined.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

The ideal short-term outcome of producing our film 'Fluid' would be to raise awareness of sexual violence in the gay world. This would be achieved by distributing the film through festivals and/or streaming platforms. Medium-term, we want the film to generate press coverage and amplify awareness of these issues.

Longer-term, we would like to see support groups established for Australian GBT victims and survivors of sexual violence. Our subject, Kieran, is hoping to start one such group in Sydney, which would be filmed during production. Ultimately, we want 'Fluid' to help reduce rates of sexual violence within Australia's GBT community.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We plan to engage with key communication organisations in the development and post-production phases.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We are hoping to reach a diverse audience, who will each take different actions after viewing 'Fluid.' Our primary objective is to encourage GBT survivors and victims of sexual violence to feel represented and find support.

It is our aim that advocacy groups will be inspired by this project to develop their own networks for GBT victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Ideally, the project would also spark interest from researchers, academics and journalists who could further interrogate the sexual violence within the LGBTIQ world.

'Fluid' will deepen conversations sparked by the #MeToo movement, challenging preconceptions about victims of sexual violence. In turn, this will generate greater empathy and understanding for GBT men.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

In the short-term, our indicators for success would be the wide distribution of 'Fluid' through film festivals, cinemas, TV networks and/or streaming platforms.

We want the problem of sexual violence against men to be on the public agenda and a topic that is no longer taboo.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states, “due to the relatively small number of men who experience sexual violence, further detail about their experience is not available.” We would love to see researchers, academic and journalists collect data to enhance our understanding.

Another indicator of success would be the number of support groups established for GBT victims of sexual violence as a result of this film. Reduced rates of sexual violence within Australia's GBT community is our ultimate goal.

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