Study Explores Sexual Violence in Screenplays

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With sexual assault stories pouring out in Hollywood, The Black List surveyed the 45,000 scripts on its site to examine how sexual violence is portrayed.

As the industry continues to be rocked by a flood of sexual assault and harassment stories tied to producer Harvey Weinstein, a study of the language of sexual violence in screenplays has been released.

The Black List, which is known for its annual list of top unproduced screenplays, released the timely study, which examines the thousands of screenplays (feature and TV pilots) in its database.

The research found that out of the 45,000 scripts on the site, approximately 2,400 (5.3 percent) were somehow associated with rape. Interestingly, most (72.3 percent) of those with rape references were written by men. The study also breaks down the references by genre, finding that crime stories most commonly referenced rape or sexual violence. Also, about half of the scripts featured female protagonists, but only 29 percent passed the Bechdel Test.

The piece, written by Kate Hagen, also speaks to readers of the Black List about the patterns they've seen when it comes to spec scripts and sexual violence and also talked to experts about the issue.

"When it comes to creation  —  the most incredible tool any of us have as writers  —  it is imperative that we rethink portrayals of sexual violence in any medium," writes Hagen.

Read the piece here.