Hold Me Right is a documentary about the aftermath of sexual trauma told through intimate testimonies of forty survivors in the wake of these crimes. Created and produced by Danijela Stajnfeld, a filmmaker and rape survivor, and cinematographer Charlie Cole, an award winning director and cinematographer, the film is currently in production.
The film focuses on the period after the crimes, when survivors come forward to seek support. Often met with disbelief, lack of understanding, silence, shame and blame, survivors from different backgrounds have gone through similar ordeals of being traumatized for the second time by their loved ones, and our cultural response to sexual assault.
We hope to challenge prejudices about the causes and effects of sexual trauma so we can stand with survivors, and shed light on the stigmas that hurt victims and shield perpetrators. As we follow their journeys from victim to victor, the film explores what helped, what didn’t, and why. This will be an important tool for anyone with a survivor in their lives.
The film is being produced with the support of Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), Safe Horizon and Voices and Faces Project and The Film Cooperative. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible though film festivals, traditional and web broadcasting, social media and partnerships with schools, non-profit organizations and other educational institutions.
Our target audience is young adults and students. 1 in 5 high school students experience dating violence, often followed by the destruction of the survivor’s reputation in school and on social media. Sexual victimization in higher educational institutions may be as high as 25% of the student population.
Through free school screenings and social media outlets, we hope to bring Hold Me Right to the student population at this key developmental moment, and perhaps change the course of a few precious lives through empathy, education and inspiration.
Our mission is to empower survivors, support their circles of family and friends with valuable tools, and bring their important voices to the choir of people speaking out to effect change.
I’m a survivor of a night-long assault. Adding to this trauma was a year long relationship with a boyfriend who judged me and blamed me for the symptoms of PTSD I had developed. He told me I was weak and that he would understand if I would took my own life due to the trauma. Neither one of us knew how to deal with the aftermath of the assault so the scars of the trauma stayed open and painful much longer. These experience motivated me to make this film.
I choose to use a documentary film to communicate this message because I believe the experience of watching survivors share their painful experiences on camera evokes empathy and captures what can’t be described. This felt like the most effective way to create an impact on people's minds and hearts.
Hold Me Right will also have subtitles in many languages. One my goals for the project is to spread this message globally to raise awareness and encourage those still in silence to speak up.
The numbers are staggering; If an individual wasn’t sexually assaulted, they most likely know someone who was. According to Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) Every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. Three out of four rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
55% of rapes happen near or at the victim’s home, 12% at or near a relative's home and 8% on school property. Homes, schools, workplaces, religious institutions, army services, community gatherings are considered to be safe environments, but those who were victimized in those places, don’t feel safe anymore.
94% of women who are raped experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the two weeks following the rape. Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.
Hold Me Right captures the effects this trauma has on person (physical, psychological, mental, social and emotional) and showcases the struggle to survive, heal, reach safety, move on and regain the power, strength, justice.