HOMENews&Data > Resources > Human Rights Films/Video
Director: Tom McCarthy
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, etc.
“It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”
Based on a true event, the film “Spotlight” opens with the ‘Spotlight’ team of the Boston Globe, one of the top 3 daily newspapers in the United States. The team reports on the child molestation cases by the Catholic Boston parish priests but soon discovers that they are to suffer all kinds of disruptions and criticisms from the judicial circle and the church itself. In their investigation, the team discovers that there have been child molestation cases since the 1950s. However, the most disturbing fact was that the Cardinal never thought to mention these cases to the public, despite him being aware of them throughout the years.
It turns out that the victims have tried to team up against the church to sue them, but were unable to proceed because the judicial circle was reluctant to handcuff the responsible priests. Rather, they were promised a small settlement fee and the dismissal of the priests from the parish. Instead of being stripped off of their qualifications, the respective priests were simply designated to another diocese where they continued to produce consequent child victims. As a result, these victims continued to suffer and carry the heavy burden of the pain, guilt, and shame throughout their adolescent years. While some heavily relied on drugs and alcohol, others committed suicide because the incident was too much of a burden for them.
The victims were mostly from low income families, single mother families, or divorced families. Moreover, they relied heavily on religion and translated the attention of the priests as God’s concern, their innocence making it easier for the priests to prey upon. In response, the society, their friends and family disregarded the victims’ physical and psychological health but constantly pressured them not to press charges against the responsible priests. The movie ends with the ‘Spotlight’ team receiving calls from victims all around the country after the article is released. This indicates that these horrific incidents are not only happening in Boston but across the United States, and also around the world.
A child molestation incident by a priest who is religious and moral is an event anyone can be horrified with. Not only did these priests sexually harass children, but they also abused their positions and threatened these children not to press charges against them. Hence, many of the victims had to go through a period of confusion, abused drugs and alcohol, and even committed suicide. These children had to overcome the pain they received from these priests and they also had to face the troubling fact that these priests were still socially respected upon, despite committing a crime. Additionally, watching the lawyers intercepting the settlement money and using these children’s cases as a source of profit, and observing a society that struggled to conceal these child molestation and rape cases, I only got the feeling that Boston was tolerating pedophiles in their society.
There is a line in the movie that says, “it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” Concealing these incidents happening in Boston, as well as in other regions, and all around the world indicated that the village was refusing to take responsibility of these sexual harassments. It was unfortunate to watch the people who were primarily responsible for these children’s well-being and protecting them from harm were the ones who were instigating their unhappiness. I do hope that future perpetrators will be punished as sex offenders, irrespective of their societal influence and religious association.