Prima Facie is the result of Miller’s excruciating awakening that the “game of law” works against a rape victim. “1-in-3 women have had a vi- olent sexual assault and reported it to the police, and only 1 in 10 of those who have reported it are taken to court. In the United Kingdom, only 1.3 percent of them have a convic- tion. If you look at those stats, you realize there’s something very wrong,” says Miller. “With Prima Facie , I wanted to show the process of what someone has to go through to get to court, and even to get there and to lose. There’s no motivation to do it. Even if they are mistaken about what happened, 1.3 percent? You can’t tell me that 98.7 percent are mistaken. There’s something wrong with the way the system works.” When Prima Facie ran in London, the production hosted a night that was solely for female lawyers and those in the law profession. Miller found herself participating in a three-hour Q&A discussion follow- ing the performance. Women shared their stories of sexual harassment, as- sault, and ways of being undermined in their profession. “There was a top defense barrister in the first row, and I knew that her specialty was sexual assault law,” Miller recalls. “I thought she would excellently hammer me when the time came. Instead, she said, ‘I do sexual assault cases every day of my life. I win a lot of them and get my clients off. If my god- daughter came to me and said she had been sexually assaulted, I would tell her, ‘Do not take this case to court.’ I would believe my goddaugh-

“When I was in law school, I remember thinking that there was something really amiss with the whole concept of sexual as- sault,” says Australian playwright Suzie Miller. “I was a defense attorney, so I believe in innocence until proven guilty and I be- lieve that is the bedrock of a civilized society without which you have a dictatorship, so it’s very important that we have that,” says Miller. “But it was laughable to me that they kept compar- ing laws like an objective truth. The structure of the system has been created by generations of white, middle-class, heterosexual men. All of these cases that decide what is fair have not had women’s experience embedded in them.”

ter, but I would say, ‘You’ll never win.’ What does that tell you?” The play is affecting change in ways that Miller never thought possible. Prima Facie inspired a group of barristers in London to set up an organization for serious examination of sexual assault law. The production was filmed and distributed as part of The National Theatre cinema series and has been screened at judges’ conferences. “Who would dream that something you write in a dark little studio on a miserable winter night, thinking that no one is ever going to watch a rape play, would get picked up and have this cumulative effect?” Thousands of women write to Miller weekly, sharing stories


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