The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in Fall 2011, to engage African American men and boys in the prevention of sexual violence. NCCASA selected North Carolina State University (NC State) to develop a proposal that addressed this goal. Juliette Grimmett, at the time the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center responsible for Interpersonal Violence Services, organized a meeting with stakeholders at NC State to discuss ideas for the project. A proposal to create a documentary was presented by Marc A. Grimmett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counselor Education. The documentary proposal was selected by the group, presented to NCCASA, and ultimately approved by OVW. David Hambridge, a freelance filmmaker based in Raleigh, NC, was then hired to work with Dr. Grimmett to make the film. When Ms. Grimmett left NC State to start Chrysalis Network, management of the project was transferred to Dr. Grimmett. Over the next year and a half, Dr. Grimmett and David worked together to create a short educational documentary that explores the roles of African American men and boys in the prevention of rape and sexual assault and being helpful to survivors. Juliette Grimmett continued to work on the film as the consulting producer.
One of our goals for this project was to present African American men and boys as natural helpers, educators, and allies in the prevention of sexual violence, both to serve as a model for male and African American communities and to present a counter-narrative to often inaccurate and misleading portrayals of African American masculinity. As a result, African American men and boys are presented demonstrating understanding and support for survivors of sexual violence, while also working to end rape culture. In the same way, another primary goal of the documentary was to provide specific information on how anyone can work to end rape and help survivors.
Ultimately, we hope that this film can be used for educational and training purposes related to the prevention of sexual violence. The documentary was conceived as a tool to: engage men and boys in the deconstruction and reconstruction of gender roles, masculinity, and power; educate men and boys about rape culture and their roles and responsibilities in the prevention of rape and sexual assault; and facilitate the training of men and boys as educators, advocates, and activists for the prevention of sexual violence.