I Beat Up My Rapist

A young woman refuses to rely on a system that repeatedly fails sexual assault victims and takes justice into her own hands.

Creative team

Writer/director: Katrina Saville
Producer: Gurjeet Kaur Bassi

Filmmaker’s statement

I Beat Up My Rapist is a true story, based on an memoir written by Leif LaVen (formerly Emily Eveland) for xojane.com, that went viral in 2016. Along with hundreds of thousands of other people I’m sure, the essay punched me in the gut and really resonated with me – Leif’s writing was visceral, the details were telling, and her choices were controversial.

Truth be told, I never wanted to be the ‘female’ filmmaker who made a film surrounding the taboo subject matter cemented in a trope that has been overused in TV and film to a nauseating point. Sensationalized. Sexualized. Gratuitous and so mind-numbing that I’d be happy to never see a rape scene again. In fact, I DIDN’T want to see another one … ever. And then … I self-funded a film about a rape.

Leif’s writing gutted me in a way that I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I could visualize the scenes in my head. And I suppose as a filmmaker, the only way to purge those ideas, was to make the damn thing. I wanted to tell this story – from my point of view and from Leif’s point of view.

As Jill Soloway so eloquently said at the Toronto International Film Festival a few years back: “We can use [the female gaze] to call out all of those fucking storylines on those procedurals – that are meant to work as public service, meant to educate us about rape, but actually are just more rape.

“Male protagonist privilege protection extends into the courtrooms, into the way the law understands our bodies. Transparent as a TV show invested in trans protagonism and the culture shifted, then laws changed. What if only women were allowed to craft storylines about our bodies, about rape or consent for the next 100 years? Could we change the laws with our gaze? As we write and direct and produce our own truths about the violence on our bodies, it’s back to our bodies again.”

About Katrina Saville

Katrina Saville

Katrina Saville is a Toronto-based writer/director/producer of narrative television and films. Currently, she’s a producer/writer/director on the hit television series, Private Eyes (Global/ION), starring Jason Priestley.

Previously she was a writer on The Detail (CTV/ION), Saving Hope (CTV/ION) and Rookie Blue (Global/ABC). She’s in development right now on her directorial feature debut Unidentified Woman, having recently directed a short film of the same name, which is set to make its festival premiere later in 2019.

Her previous short films, I Beat Up My Rapist, The Appointment and Helium Junkies have screened and won awards at film festivals across North America and Europe.

Katrina is a graduate of the film and television production program at Humber College.

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