Close to Home
Vanessa Roth, Alexandra Dickson, Shana Hagan, Greg Byers, Peter Harris, Bruce Hornsby
Exploring a problem many wish to hide far from view, Close to Home allows an audience to confront the disturbing subject of child sexual abuse, both an uncomfortable and taboo topic. This expertly crafted film succeeds by exposing the complexities that surround this heinous crime.
Focusing on five cases from different parts of the country, the film permits the subjects to tell their stories in their own words. We meet two resilient young sisters who were abused by a family friend while in his care. They are preparing to testify in court to ensure his conviction. The film includes testimony from a professional hockey player, who along with hundreds of other teenagers, was molested by his nationally renowned coach. He intimately found the courage to try to stop the cycle of abuse. A young woman talks about the fact that, years later, she is still not ready to confront her abuser for fear of the ramifications for her family. Footage from a caseworker's interview with a very young girl describing her abuse by her father is harrowing.
Close to Home appropriately demystifies the predator by including scenes from a convicted sex offenders' group therapy session. The men describe their motivations and the means by which they methodically gained access to their victims. The film reveals how calculation and cautious they are to reduce their chances of being caught. Without glorifying their actions, these group scenes give us insight into these men.
This extremely powerful film raises awareness about this underexamined issue and deserves to be widely viewed. Society can only benefit.