Here you can find documentary recommendations on topics such as domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and human trafficking.

Some individuals may find any of these documentaries to be triggering. If you feel the need to call a hotline, we encourage you to do so. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673 (or you can chat with them online here). The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888 (you can chat with them online here; or text HELP to 233733). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (or you can chat with them online here).

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 Domestic Violence

Private Violence (2014) is a 2014 American documentary film directed and produced by Cynthia Hill. The film focuses on the issue of domestic violence, as told through two survivors. Ultimately, the film centers on dispelling the logic of the commonly asked question: “Why didn’t she just leave?”

Sexual Violence

The Hunting Ground (2015) is a documentary film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and what its creators say is a failure of college administrations to deal with it adequately. Written and directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, it premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released on February 27, 2015. Lady Gaga recorded an original song, “Til It Happens to You,” for the film.

I am Evidence (2017) explores the shocking way that sexual assault cases have been historically processed in the United States. It is estimated that every year hundreds of thousands of rape kits are left untested in police storage facilities. This film is available on HBO and Prime Video.

The Invisible War (2012) is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of several young women, the film reveals the systemic cover up of the crimes against them and follows their struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. The Invisible War features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm conditions that exist for rape in the military, its history of cover-up, and what can be done to bring about much needed change.

Audrie & Daisy (2016) is a Netflix documentary that includes the stories of two American high school students: Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman. At the time of the sexual assaults, Pott was 15 and Coleman was 14 years old. After the assaults, the victims and their families were subjected to abuse and cyberbullying. The documentary follows their outcomes through time, social media, court documents and police investigations.

Surviving R. Kelly (2019) is a Lifetime documentary series detailing sexual abuse allegations against R&B singer, R. Kelly. The series features interviews from a variety of perspectives including survivors, supporters, psychologists and cultural and legal experts. The series uncovers new stories with revealing details and explores why the voices of the girls that spoke up decades ago are only now being heard. The series can be viewed on Netflix, Lifetime, and Prime Video.

Sexual Harassment

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (2014) reveals the story of a woman who has empowered millions to stand up for equality and justice. An entire country watched as a poised, beautiful African-American woman sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill’s graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that still resonates today.

Untouchable (2019) – available on Hulu – focuses on the sexual abuse allegations involving Harvey Weinstein and includes interviews with many of his accusers. In October 2017, the New Yorker reported that dozens of women accused Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer, of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years. The accusations against Weinstein are seen as the beginning of the #MeToo movement and TimesUp.

Human Trafficking

The Day My God Died (2003) recounts the stories of several Nepalese girls who were forced into the international child sex trade. In Bombay alone, 90 new cases of HIV infection are reported every hour, and the victims are getting younger: two decades ago, most women in India’s brothels were in their twenties or thirties. Today, the average age is 14. The Day My God Died puts a human face on these abstract numbers.

Tricked (2013) is a documentary film that documents human sex trafficking, and its presence within the United States, from the perspectives of the victims involved in sex trafficking, the “johns” who pay for the sex, and the pimps responsible for instigating the illegal business.