Hard to watch? Yes. Emotionally draining? Yes. Distasteful? No. Completely worth it? Yes.
The Netflix original “Unbelievable” debuted in September 2019. However, it wasn’t until the weekend before school that I devoured the eight one-hour-long episodes in one day.
The show unfolds as the viewers watch two different timelines: one in Colorado and one in Washington. The Colorado timeline is that of two female detectives putting everything they have into catching a serial rapist. The Washington timeline is the hard one to watch. Well, let’s be honest, when watching a show about the hunt of a serial rapist, nothing is easy. My point is, the story unfolding in Washington was absolutely soul-crushing to watch.
The viewers meet a rape victim by the name of Marie Adler. If you know anything about that name you would know that in 2015, T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong wrote the true account, which this series was based on, "An unbelievable story of rape." When Adler went to tell detectives and law enforcement about the trauma she had just experienced, she was met with the shocking reality of them thinking it was all a lie. This is something I have witnessed first hand and, unfortunately, is something that is still occurring.
Saying that I was captivated by this show is an understatement. My favorite part, what made me keep selecting “next episode,” was the perseverance showed by the female detectives. When Adler told the cops, two males, about what happened, she wasn’t believed. She was questioned while trying to relive her personal nightmare. On the flip side, when the female detectives met their victim, everything was different. Their voices were soft, they were supportive and they were comforting — something Adler’s detectives lacked.
The female detectives made everything worth it. We saw these two women go days without sleeping. We saw the passion. We saw the rawness of their desperation to catch this man that was committing awful acts. They showed us everything and to be honest, they instilled hope. Hope that maybe there are still law enforcement officials that care that much about doing right by the public.
I won’t spoil how this story ended, but what I cannot stress to you enough is that if there’s anything to learn from this miniseries, it’s that victims need support and need to be believed.
I’ll leave you with this: If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, there are resources available to help. Students can make an incident report through the Office of the Dean of Students or the NAU Police Department. Another resource always available is the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673).