A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent, has an idyllic life growing up in a peace-loving forest kingdom until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to protect her home from the land’s most brutal protector, but she ultimately suffers an act so brutal and ruthless that it turns her pure heart to stone. Fuelled by vengeance, Maleficent battles the new king of the land and, as a result, placed a curse upon his baby daughter Aurora.
As a slightly different version of the tale Sleeping Beauty, this film focusses on the traditionally evil Maleficent and how an injustice that wounds her so deeply that the audience understands how she eventually ends up cursing the king’s baby. The core of this film is abuse, and how the abused have a choice of abusing others or overcoming and remaining loving, open people.
The scene that expresses this theme is when Maleficent’s love interest betrays and violates her by drugging her and uses an iron chain to cut off her wings while she sleeps. Her wings were stolen by someone who she loved and trusted. As shocked as I was to recognize this scene is symbolic of rape and in a young child/family movie, I don’t see this as a bad thing to send a message of around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence – that the shame is on the aggressor.
I think this message is really important and relevant in today’s society because although we all know rape, date rape, marital rape, domestic violence, workplace sexual harassment, human trafficking, child prostitution happens all the time, especially in countries in Africa when hundreds of girls go missing yet governments around the world don’t want to face the problem head on and address the issue because of their social appearances.
The issue also lies with Europe and tourists, examples of this are the movie ‘Taken’ and ‘Eden’. People look away from the idea of facing it because it would cause controversial opinions and way to deal with the situation. I think people also don’t want to accept that society is turning towards more corrupt and self-indulged life style which is hard for governments to intervene.
I think that the way that society responds to issues such as rape and sexual assault is to questions and suggest that the victim is at fault for either what they wear, how they act or how much makeup they were wearing at the time, as if these features give consent and the voice of the victim is irrelevant, is outrageous and it frustrates me to no end that the focus isn’t on the aggressor and how to teach teenage males and young men not to rape as opposed to.
An example of this in New Zealand society is the Roast Busters scandal, an on-going scandal in New Zealand involving a group of young men based in Auckland who allegedly sought to intoxicate underage girls to gang rape them. I think that a solution to decrease or even eliminate rape and sexual abuse and harassment in society, is to teach the young generation not to rape but also make the punishment for any violations of the law much more severe and have no excuses allowed for those who are found guilty of rape.
At Selwyn College there is a program called the Peer Sexuality Support Program (PSSP) that recently took a few select students on a camp where they learnt about contraception, communication, relationships and consent. I think this is a really great way to make teenagers aware of healthy relationships and that sexual harassment is a serious offense, it should be make compulsory for all students at every school to attend something of the same education.
Teach the right values and morals to the young generation so that in the future society will see women not as property or as objects but as people with rights to their own body and the right to say ‘no’ and have it accepted as the final word not to be manipulated or disregarded because of what they are wearing. This links to the theme of fear because women fear walking alone at night or even in the day time, fear what they wear will be taken as consent for sex. In the US, technology has been invented such as Anti Rape underwear whose slogan is “AR Wear – A clothing line offering wearable protection for when things go wrong.
I think this can be effective for young women and teenagers at parties when the victim is intoxicated and passed out, however I think that this would only aggravate violent sex offenders which could lead to a very dangerous situation for the victim. Another device created to help with a women’s confidence is ‘Dorothy’, a device for the insides of shoes that can hail a cab by clicking your heels together. This may help with women’s confidence while out and about but that’s preparing for rape not preventing males from raping and women will become paranoid to go out because they expect something bad to happen.