This documentary follows one woman’s quest to get justice for her mother, who was violently raped and beaten in her Johannesburg, South Africa, home in 1988. Although 59-year-old Laura Henkel identified her assailant, a combination of police ineptitude and neighbors’ conflicting accounts led to her attacker, a white teenager, being let off. Since then, Laura has been unable to heal from the trauma, so her daughter Cathy takes matters into her own hands, returning to the scene of the crime.
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Rape is a prevalent, and under-reported crime in South Africa, and Laura Henkel was one of the South African justice system’s many failings. Although she reported the rape, the fact that she invited her attacker into her home made police and prosecutors imply she “asked for it.” Even more damaging was the reaction from her bewildered family, including her son, who believed she was to blame.
Cathy and Laura go back to Johannesburg to try to set things right, and campaign for South African authorities to finally acknowledge the country’s rape epidemic. Will they find justice, and more vitally, healing?
Cathy Henkel’s powerful film is a multiple award winner, including the Best Feature Documentary at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival and the Inside Film Award for Best Documentary. It has screened to critical and audience acclaim at over 30 festivals worldwide.