The Shame Is on the Aggressor: The Image of Rape in Films about Bosnia and in the Films of Angelina Jolie
“‘The shame is on the aggressor’ made headlines when Angelina Jolie used the phrase in her London keynote speech at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014. She merely stated the obvious, but it caught people’s attention because usually victims are shamed, sometimes to death. Mass rape was international news during the Bosnian War and society’s response to rape can be seen in films about that war. Of those films, only Jolie’s In the Land of Blood and Honey shames the rapist, as does the revised fairy-tale Maleficent, which casts her as an assault victim. As an actor, Jolie has also played aggressors and avengers. As a director, her film Unbroken seems to imply, with historic support, that the sadistic Japanese POW guard suffered parental rape.”
This article appears in Bright Lights Film Journal.