|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't tell if this was based on a true story, but it could have been.
Jill Eikenberry is good as Diane Martin, a public school teacher who is
single, and also a devout Catholic. Coming home from a retreat, she
picks up a hitcher, a young man, simply as a good deed. That's her
nature. Everything goes well, she takes him as far as she can, then
lets him off as she checks into a roadside motel. The story gets going
when, at night and raining, the young man has not yet caught another
ride. The rest plays out in a fairly predictable manner, but tells a
good story of a teacher being treated unfairly.
SPOILERS FOLLOW. She reluctantly lets him into her room to sleep on the floor. But he awakes to sexual feelings (male stereotype?) and with his knife as a weapon, forces himself upon her then escapes. Being afraid and ashamed, she did not report this to anyone. But things came to a head when she found out she was pregnant.
When the school board becomes aware of all this they want her to resign, or she will be fired for "immoral behavior", assuming her pregnancy was a result of an affair. Since she doesn't cooperate they begin to build trumped up charges, fire her, but she eventually, after counseling, decides to fight the dismissal. A pivotal scene was meeting another young man, a former student of hers, who was going to become a teacher because of her inspiration. She won her case. In the last scene we see her son who appears to be 5 or 6 years old by that time.
I watched this movie as a young girl and it's partially my inspiration
for becoming a therapist for rape and other trauma survivors. Besides
illustrating the psychological impact of rape, the movie shows how
survivors can be re-traumatized by others who assume survivors'
perfectly normal emotional reactions to the trauma are really evidence
I would hope today we know better, but this movie is still a powerful reminder of the psychological harm we can do to people when we fail to believe them and offer the support they need simply because their reactions don't gibe with what we think we would feel or do if we were in their shoes.
In a strange way, I'm indebted to the user who revealed the name of the real woman for whom this movie is based. It allowed me to learn more about the case and the woman behind it.
I can't speak to who this real woman was as a teacher, and I wouldn't dishonor anyone else's experience by questioning whether she or anyone else was a "true" victim. Whatever else the woman may have done or said in her life, no one deserves to be raped and denied the support she or he needs to heal. Certainly, no one deserves to be re-traumatized.
If any of the real woman's experiences were accurately depicted here, I am grateful to her and to others who helped her to tell her story. It has stayed with me for over 20 years and I will always remember what the film taught me about trauma and its effects, as well as how not to respond to someone who discloses any sort of trauma whenever I interact with people who are hurting.
Thank you Eckmann family for sharing this part of your history so that people like myself can learn from it and be inspired by it.
A student's memories of abuse at the hands of this so-called "victim"
One of the children, Tammy Chamberlain, was subjected to almost daily, ongoing, severe, organized bullying.
In an attempt to gain relief from the cruelty of ongoing abuse (by the teacher, and far too many others....) about her weight, her doctor approved a weight-loss drug for her. I knew what she was going through - and completely understood why she wanted to lose weight. I have always supported her Mom's attempt to help Tammy be less of a target.
She suffered a catastrophic reaction to that weight-loss drug, and died.
When she died, I could not bear to attend the funeral. It's truly a struggle to find words to describe the feelings of being there, watching that going on, and watching a teacher - someone we were supposed to be safe with - being the lead bully.
I honor her - and her family's pain and courageous journey forward. Her Mom was one of the school board members who tried to help her daughter - and all of us - and was tragically also sued.
I asked her Aunt Cathy if she'd like to offer her memories/comments. Her response:
'My wish for You and Tammy is that one day a Movie is made with the truth!!! My little niece did not Survive from the hands and sick mind of Jean Eckmann!!!"
|Ratings||External reviews||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|