Picture: Reuters
Victoras Pictures, a South African company that aims to create captivating content for a local and international audience, is looking for South Africans willing to speak out on the topic of abuse.

Producer Natalie Victor-Carelse, a victim of abuse by her stepfather for over a decade, said a #MeToo documentary would explore victims' and perpetrators' stories as well as the physical and emotional ramifications.

She said sexual, physical and emotional abuse over long periods affected brain development, the immune system, the hormonal system and the way DNA was transcribed.

Victor-Carelse said people who go through abuse have triple the lifetime risk of heart disease and lung cancer and a 20-year difference in life expectancy.

“The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study was presented to me showing how abuse such as what happened to myself and so many others affects the nucleus accumbens (region of the brain).

“People need to realise that in one night, one incident can cause years of complications to the human body and brain.

“We can't only focus on the crime itself, we need to expose the truth of the countless reactions that follow such a harrowing experience.

“For this reason we will be interviewing ‘victims’ as well as their friends and family to get insight into how people change post such an incident.

“I myself went through years of depression and suicidal thoughts due to my own self-image after being abused for nearly 13 years. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything - if someone could do this to me repeatedly, then what is my worth to society?” said Victor-Carelse.

She said the documentary also speaks to 17 South African celebrities.

She has launched a crowdfunding campaign to gain additional support and funding to complete the documentary, see: http://www.thundafund.com/project/metoo

[email protected]