“An Open Secret” the Movie Hollywood Doesn’t Want You to See.
Usually, when a story about child sexual abuse makes headlines, parents listen with rapt attention; so they can find the details proving their children aren’t at risk. So one would think a documentary about sexual abuse among child stars in Hollywood would have little educational value. But “An Open Secret” does a fantastic job at pulling the universal elements of child sexual abuse out of an obscure sub-set of cases. And as such, it is both bone-chilling and enlightening.
Amy Berg, who brought us the definitive documentary about clergy sexual abuse “Deliver Us From Evil”, examines another facet of the crime. While “Deliver Us From Evil” deals with child sexual abuse in a place we see as sacred, “An Open Secret” is set someplace we all suspect to be sleazy. But in both cases we see the same themes- children forever scarred by a few adults willing to exploit them, many adults who are content to look the other way, and a society that would rather ignore the crime and let broken laws and systems endanger more children.
While most parents aren’t Hollywood parents, every parent would do well to absorb the lessons this documentary teaches. Sex offenders are all around us. They’re nice people, easy to trust. They rarely get convicted, and when they do, it does little to limit their access to children. And they have a knack for making themselves sound like the good guys in any situation.
The release of this film has been fraught with challenges- Hollywood has good reason for you to avoid it. But anyone, particularly a parent, or anyone with an interest in the subject, stands to learn a lot from it. And enough collective knowledge will help heal what is not only society’s open secret, but also our open wound.
Executive Director, Stop Abuse Campaign
A survivor of incest, psychological abuse and a host of other childhood trauma, Melanie now uses her talents to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences. Melanie has over a decade of legislative advocacy regarding children’s issues, and she has been published in newspapers, magazines and blogs all across the country.