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Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture Review

Zara McDermott is quickly becoming this generation’s Stacey Dooley with what she is uncovering for the BBC.

In this documentary Zara looks at rape culture and how it has changed and spiralled since she was a victim of sexual assault during her younger years. In this documentary we focus mainly on schools and their involvement in this culture as well as the differences between how teenage boys react to it versus how teenage girls do.

Unsurprisingly, especially in a generation rife with social media and easy Internet access, rape culture is something that is incredibly prolific even in its smallest forms – from taking a picture of a girl up her skirt or sending a nude over Snapchat or even harassing someone through Instagram dm’s – while these encounters may seem trivial to the person doing them, the person receiving these messages and explicit images could tell a bigger tale on how much it affects their mental health and confidence.

It was fascinating in this documentary to see how many schools that Zara approached to talk about this problem denied her access and how it seems, even with such a prevalent issue, industries will just sweep it under the rug to save face for things like OFSTED or parents. I think that’s completely wrong and really the schools that are more open to talking about these issues and tackling them should be more favoured because they are showing that they at least have some understanding of what’s going on and a plan of action on how to deal with it.

Zara gained her fame through Love Island and has since moved onto Made in Chelsea and is dating Sam from that same reality show. Sam is a very high-class man in that he went to a private school, and it’s fascinating to see that those schools, especially mainly same-sex schools, have such a bad rap for being so abusive and how many of them didn’t want to speak to Zara in terms of what they were doing about it.

There is definitely a lad culture out there of how people believe that they should be acting, for example how boys should approach girls and how girls are seen more as objects and property than actual human beings, and this is only amplified by the use of Internet porn and how accessible it is. I don’t believe that the adult industry can ever be stopped and I don’t know how much responsibility it should take either, as most grown adults know that it is just fantasy and not real, however having only a question of whether you’re 18 or not on the page when you first open the website doesn’t stop people under the age of 18 being exposed to it and depicting it as true to life.

In the end with anything it comes down to education and people not being afraid to have these conversations. The only way to stop these consistent issues is to bring it to light and explain why it’s not okay in a way that young people will connect with. It was really interesting how a group of boys from a London school spoke to a young male adult who explained why it was wrong for them to do the things that they were doing and they were able to listen to him because they respected him, whereas I imagine if their science teacher or headmaster tried to have the same conversation they wouldn’t get that reception.

At the end of the day as with many of these issues it comes down to education and conversation. If we try to sweep it under the rug then that does not make the problem go away and for the victim still dealing with this problem it just makes them feel like they cannot go to someone to voice their issues and get help. It’s a problem I don’t see as ever going away but we can help in making sure that the generations that come after us understand why it’s wrong, what they should be doing, and how they can respect each other better.

If you have an interest in how schools have changed since you were there or you enjoy Zara’s other documentaries I definitely recommend this one too, it gives great insight into rape culture and while we may not get many answers as to how we can help change the issue, it definitely gives you some pointers on how you can be more respectful to others and to know that if you have ever been in this sort of situation you can speak up because there will be people there for you who will believe you and help you.

What do you think of the documentary?

Until next time.

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