By Katie Cappiello
Developed & Produced by The Arts Effect NYC under the direction of Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney
Presented by Evenstar Films
On a cold night in January, 16-year-old JOEY DEL MARCO, rushes home from dance team practice at The Elliot School in NYC to get ready for Connor Hershall’s party. She decides to meet up with her longtime friends Luke Freidman, George Wright, and Tim Delany for a little “pre-gaming” before heading uptown. She has a drink – in fact Joey and the guys down an entire bottle of Absolut. They dance. They hang out. They have fun. And then they squeeze into the back of a cab...
45 minutes later, Joey’s best friend JANE finds Joey locked in the bathroom at the party. She’s on the floor, covered in her own vomit, with her underwear in her hand.
Within days, The Elliot School community is turned upside down. Luke, George, and Tim have been arrested and put on academic probation, and Joey’s yet to show up for classes. Facebook, Instagram, and ASK.FM are flooded with photos and posts detailing what (or who) went down in that taxi. Homes and hallways are thick with rumor, gossip, and blame: She wanted it. Did she say “No?” She was drunk and out of control. She deserved it – did you see what she was wearing!? The guys wouldn’t need to force her! Why did she have condoms in her bag? She gave them all blow-jobs. Why didn’t she stop the cab? She prides herself on being a slut.
While her parents pace in the waiting room, Joey sits in a small office and makes her statement to the assistant district attorney. As she painfully recounts the events of that night – her story is intertwined with glimpses of the community’s response. JANE makes a passionate attempt to convince her mom that what happened to Joey could have easily happened to her; the members of THE DANCE TEAM turn their back on Joey but defend their right to be sexually free – slut pride!!; George’s freshman “girlfriend” LEILA contemplates whether or not to support him; DOMINIQUE searches for condoms at Duane Reade but worries buying them will make her look like a slut...like Joey; ANNA confronts her twin brother, Tim, and asks a very difficult question: Did he do it?; and SYLVIE confides the details of her rape for the first time over coffee and a chocolate chip cookie.
In a culture where silence, judgement, and over-sexualization allow sexual violence to thrive, will Joey find support and justice? When past choices and actions come back to haunt her – will her voice be heard? How will one night in a cab shape the sexual lives of Joey and the students at Elliot?
Across the country, in middle schools, high schools, and on college campuses, “slut” is a word to live or die by. It’s simultaneously a badge of honor and the scarlet letter – and young women everywhere struggle to walk the line.