Desmond has a secret he cannot share with anyone. His grades are slipping, rumors are swirling and he feels powerless, especially when he sees his sister being hurt too. With the support of his father and a new friend, Desmond is able to tell his story of being sexually assaulted and end the cycle of abuse. Desmond regains his power when he uses his voice.

If you or someone close to you needs support dealing with sexual abuse, please reach out: 800-656-hope

Lesson Plan:

Speechless was written by Roxanne Lasker-Hall when she was a junior at the Cleveland School of the Arts, in Cleveland, OH and directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight and Jennifer’s Body).

For 15 years, Scenarios has asked teens to share their realities, and they have responded with a raw and revealing constellation of voices of what it means to be a teenager today. Scenarios uses the incredible power of storytelling and filmmaking to create curricula the gives students the chance to speak out, be heard and lead on the issues that really matter to not only themselves but their communities. We start by bringing our REAL DEAL curriculum and films into middle school and high school classrooms. The curriculum engages students to think critically and creatively about the issues they face. And we say: Now Tell Us Your Story!

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  1. Hello commentors!

    Many of you will scroll over this comment, which is fine. That's just how social media works. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all the love this film has received. When I wrote this, I never realized how many people would relate to any of the characters in it. Since it's release, I have had many approach me with their own stories. This film and my work with Scenarios was the best thing I did in my youth, and arguably, probably ever. I didn't know that this short film would receive such a significant amount of attention, but I am both humbled and touched by the support. I just wanted to leave this comment to thank you all and to remind anyone who needs to hear it that there is always sunshine after storm clouds. I have and am battling my own demons, as are we all. Do not allow those demons to take away your voice. Scream, cry, shriek–it is always okay to cause attention to wrong. I urge anyone who can relate to Desmond's story to reach out to someone you can trust, whether it be a teacher, friend, parent, etc. There are many online forums available. Resources exist. I send you all my love. Thank you. None of you will ever understand how blessed I am to know that this film I wrote in high school would touch anyone outside of my area.

    Thank you. I love you all, my fellow humans.

    — Roxanne Lasker-Hall, now aged 23

  2. Still waiting for my own court case after a year. Though, it's very likely that he will not be convicted. It happened three years ago and he had been fifteen at the time. As of now he is denying it, and my hope for any justice at all is fading.

  3. Everyone deserve to here's your voice, this can helped you. Girls, boys, gays,black, fat or skinny. Can be abuse & each not good. Being quiet can hurt you other people behinds you.

  4. I love this short film! Powerful message sent through and a platform and dialogue opener for sexual assault and rape amongst young adults and teens…scary world we live in

  5. My comment might not seem relevant to this video, but it is much less common for a real biological father to molest his own children.

    It's much more common for step fathers to abuse their step children who live in the same home.

    The duty of a real dad is to provide protection for their children and to provide a safe and secure upbringing for their kids.

    As soon as the biological father leaves the family home not only are his children missing out on the father-son and father-daughter relationship that is important for us all, but his absence often allows the presence of men who have no biological connection and no real care and interest in the children of another man, and in many cases the absence of the real dad allows the child predators to have easier access to their potential victims.

    All men need to think about the happiness and the safety of their own children before deciding to leave the family home.

    I would never leave my children, and even if I didn't live with them I would make sure that they knew that they were cared for by me and that they saw me as much as possible.

    Because without a father to protect them, children can be at the mercy of others.

  6. duh what mindless things to happen,.. i mean he could hurt them one at a time.. thinking of what others will think is absurd human always judge he should have done an/or tje action wisely, flip the situation instead of him getting embrass let the abuser suffer such….

  7. If this happens to anyone under the age of puberty then it is not only terrible but it's mental health outcome is most certainly extremely difficult to deal with, since prepuberty children don't have the physiological vocabulary to deal with the sexual aspect of the abuse. Thus the abuse becomes both internalised and turned against the victim in question, and rendered unconscious to a certain degree. If it happens to straight females and gay males after puberty it is still terrible, but at least they have the mental and emotional vocabulary to potentially deal with it. Still probably females are worse affected due to the sex differences at neurological level (studies show that females code negative psychological events farm more strongly than males). What makes it in any case still terrible, and this is especially true of gay males, is the fact that they are sexually assaulted by a member of the sex they are attracted to, thus this experience may if very traumatic code future sexual and emotional response, leading to an inability to form lasting bonds or leading to a compulsive need to seek out abusive partners or sexual practices that involve abuse of some kind. If it's a straight male while the event may be traumatic at least in their case the assault is not filtered through their own sexual orientation. That is, their attraction to females and their experience with females may be either not affected at all or less affected. I've noticed this differential response after talking to many rape survivals of various sexual orientations and gender identities.

  8. I am glad this video exists.
    I was almost date raped by a woman. I say almost because I was drugged, but had a good friend nearby who noticed something was wrong and took me home.
    Had he not been there I don't know what would have happened to me.

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