‘Victim/Suspect’ Trailer: Netflix Documentary Investigates How Law Enforcement Indicts Victims of Sexual Assault (EXCLUSIVE)

Rae de Leon discovered a disturbing pattern while working as a reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting. It seemed that, nationwide, there was a pipeline from women reporting sexual assault to the police to criminal charges made against them.

Director Nancy Schwartzman follows de Leon’s solo investigation in her Netflix documentary feature “Victim/Suspect,” a film that unveils how policing across the U.S. enables law enforcement to turn survivors of sexual assault into accused criminals.

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Leon and other journalists use video and audio footage of police interrogations, firsthand accounts from these young women and interviews with legal experts to get a better sense of where potential flaws in the police system may lie. “Victim/Suspect” premiered this year at Sundance Film Festival and will be released on Netflix on May 23.

Schwartzman’s documentary debut, the Peabody nominated feature “Roll Red Roll,” follows a similar beat, investigating a sexual assault case at an Ohio high school and how rape culture and social media contributed to the victim’s discreditation.

“I hope this film really inspires people to dig deeper when they see headlines ripped from a police report, that’s cheap and basic,” Schwartzman said in a 2023 interview with TheWrap.

While film provides aggravating and often harrowing details of police attempts at rewriting the experience of sexual assault victims, there was a definite focus on the work that went into reporting these details. Lisa Kennedy wrote in her review for Variety that Schwartzman sometimes focused more on de Leon than the systemic issues at hand, which gave the director a lens into the issue only by dint of another journalist. Still, “Victim/Suspect” takes a much-needed look into cases across the nation, from Bridgeport, Conn. to Tuscaloosa County, Ala.

The film was executive produced by Carolyn Hepburn, and produced by Schwartzman, de Leon, Julie Goldman, Cristopher Clements, Alice Henty and Amanda Pike.

Watch the trailer below.

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