Raw Deal - A Question of 

Raw Deal - A Question of Consent


Reviewed by: Trinity

On the night of Friday 26th February 1999, an exotic dancer was hired to perform at the Delta Chi fraternity house at the University of Florida. The next morning, Lisa Gier King ran from the house distraught and half-naked, claiming that she had been raped by frat brother Michael Yahraus. The authorities were brought in, but two days later King was herself under arrest. The incident had been videotaped, showing, it was claimed, "clearly willing and consensual sex".

The story was picked up by women's organisations and grew to outrageous proportions, until arriving on the desk of Rod Smith, State Attorney, who made the extraordinary decision not only to make the tape public, but to release copies to whomsoever requested one. Billy Corben's film includes extensive footage from the video, along with interviews from many of the people involved.

It is a harrowing and unnerving experience watching this documentary. These are real people and, despite the uncertainty over the claim, real lives have been destroyed.

It is amazing to watch the different reactions of the people featured, and to realise that you cannot tell who might be "putting on an act" and who you can believe.

With so many opinions on offer, no conclusions can be reached, save from the fact that the original investigation was a shambles. Corben seems to point the viewer in a particular direction, yet suggests that a lot of covering up was done to safeguard political careers, in the end you are as good, or as bad a judge as anyone.

Can someone consent to sexual acts and then withdraw that consent? Did this happen on February 26th?

In a strange, yet insightful way, Corben shows us that videotape, far from providing solid evidence, is wide open to interpretation.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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A disturbing investigation of an alleged rape at a frat house.

Director: Billy Corben

Year: 2000

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: USA


EIFF 2001

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