We’re most grateful to Valerie Gibson, Executive Producer of Pursuit of Truth film, for our guest post today.
Pursuit of Truth: Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Seeking Justice, was an outgrowth of my personal experiences in supporting the efforts of my adult son, who had been sexually abused as a child, to hold his abuser legally accountable. Our struggle to navigate the legal process led to the realization that the system is flawed from initial reporting to law enforcement all the way up to the judges who preside over these cases. I found that the system was not only flawed but was, in fact, heavily weighted against survivors in favor of their perpetrators.
I observed that the justice system’s handling of survivor cases suffered from an utter lack of education and training as to the unique challenges involved when a child victim of sexual abuse enters the legal system as an adult. I concluded that the system needed to be transformed from the bottom up and that a film documentary was the most effective vehicle to present these issues to the widest possible audience. To that end, I had the good fortune of meeting Kathy Barbini, who directed the film.
When my son first disclosed his abuse, I did not know where to turn or what to do. My futile attempts at Internet search engines confirmed my suspicion that no one had any answers to help guide me. Instead, I came across one horror story after another relating to survivors’ mistreatment and retraumatization suffered as a result of their experiences in trying to navigate the legal system.
Therefore, my initial concept was to make a film that would act as a type of roadmap through the legal process for survivors and their families. But after months and months of research and discussions with experts in the field, I decided that the justice system was so fundamentally flawed that a roadmap would do nothing but lead survivors from one broken stage of the process to the next. So I scrapped that plan and instead decided to make a film to educate the public and participants in the legal process by exposing its systemic flaws and identifying necessary reforms. My goal for the film became to turn upside down a legal system that perversely protects perpetrators and obstructs survivors who seek to speak the truth about the abuse they suffered. Pursuit of Truth was created to give voice to the cry of survivors for justice – a plea that has been silenced too long.
I am pleased to report that the film has been very well received. We have had the opportunity to present at numerous law and victim advocates national conferences, before legislative groups, and at social justice film festivals. I am eternally grateful for all of the love and support I have received in making the film and for the privilege of getting to know so many beautiful people – in particular, survivors and their loved ones – along this journey.
There is much more work to be done. My film is a beginning rather than an end. But for now, I ask for your prayers and support as my family finally gets our day in court on November 3, 2014, after waiting over three and a half years after filing suit against my son’s abuser. This will be the culmination of our own pursuit of truth.
Executive Producer, Pursuit of Truth film