Title: Searching for Justice
Written by: Raza Rizvi
Type: Feature Film
Logline: After a lesbian college student gets raped by her male study partner, she struggles with the repercussions of an unwanted pregnancy and tries to find justice in a Louisiana legal system riddled with bias towards both women and the LBGT community.
Synopsis: Izzy, a female college student lies bruised and bloodied after being assaulted by Mark. After Mark leaves her, she calls her long distance lover, Sera. Izzy hides her abuse from Sera.
The next day, Izzy prepares herself for a PoliSci test. She puts on make up to hide her injuries, and is confronted by the wreckage of the night before. She attends her test, where she has to endure taking it right next to Mark. Izzy struggles through the rest of the day, attending classes
and going to her hostess job.
Once she finally makes it home, she considers dialing 911 to report her assault, but decides against it. She cleans the mess from the night before, and disposes of the clothes and items damaged in the assault.
Three weeks later, a seemingly more upbeat Izzy picks up Sera from the airport. The two embrace passionately. On the car ride back to Izzy's apartment, the two argue about Izzy's decision to quit her hostess job. However, they know each other well, and the argument maintains a healthy tone.
Back at the apartment, Sera takes Izzy to the bedroom. As things heat up, Izzy becomes tense, and reveals to Sera that she has been raped. The two argue for a moment about what to do, before Sera accepts Izzy's decision to try and move on as best as she can.
Next day's class proves challenging for Izzy, as the Professor ask her directly about the handling of evidence by the DA's office. Triggered, she has to leave the classroom, leaving her classmates bewildered. After puking in the bathroom, she returns to grab her materials, and
heads back to her apartment.
Sera comforts Izzy and calms her nerves. The comfort is short lived, however, as they discover Izzy has missed her period. They leave together to retrieve a pregnancy test. Shortly after, her pregnancy is confirmed. After some tears and soul searching, Izzy decides to bring rape charges against Mark.
Taking the first steps, Izzy sits down with the school counselor. The meeting is a bust, causing Izzy to storm out in a justified rage. Sera comforts her, and they head to the police station to file charges. Izzy and Sera sit with Officer Dylan and Officer Ripley as they file the report. The two leave with a good feeling about the report, and the officers promise to get in touch with Mark and the school counselor soon.
To avoid telling Izzy's parents about the situation, Sera calls her Mom to try and get money to go toward the abortion. However, she finds out that her Grandmother had just suffered a stroke. She decides to not ask for money. Izzy calls her parents, who had issues with her coming out,
to meet up.
She tells her Mother, Sharon, that she wants to reconnect, and that she has something important to tell them. Her father, Pat, says no. However, Sharon ignores him and tells Izzy she would love to see her. She gives Pat an ultimatum: he must try to accept their daughter, or there will be problems with their marriage.
In class the next day, Izzy is requested to attend a meeting with Laura the counselor, Mark, and the two other school counselors. As expected, the counselors continue to blame Izzy and believe Mark.
She tells them off, revealing that the police will be in contact with them soon. Mark becomes worried as she storms out of the office.
Izzy drives to her parents to stay for the weekend. She asks them for the thousand she needs for the abortion, but tells them it is for textbooks. Pat laughs, and Sharon regretfully tells her they do not have the money. Izzy goes to bed. Alone in the living room, Izzy opens up to Sharon about the reality of the situation.
Sharon promises to talk to Pat, and try to find the money. Back at Izzy's apartment, Sera meets with Officer Dylan to discuss her knowledge of Mark and Izzy's history. Officer Dylan suggests that Sera and Izzy's gay relationship might help the case make it to court.
Two weeks later, Izzy and Sera sit with a doctor to talk about the abortion. He is heavily against it, a regular pro-life ass, and the two leave his office. To take their minds off the incident, they call Officer Dylan for an update on the case. He reveals the DA has decided to not move forward with charges, and suggests Izzy find a pro bono Lawyer to try and convince the DA.
Izzy meets with a firm specializing in helping rape victims acquire pro bono representation. She is assigned to Gloria Goyer, an ambitious lawyer fresh out of law school. Gloria tells Izzy that she can play a homophobe angle, and use rape/college cover up statistics to try and convince the DA to press charges.
Officer Ripley gets in contact with Izzy. She reveals that Mark and Pat told her about several supposed boyfriends that she had in high school, poking holes in the usefulness of her sexual orientation in the case.
Izzy ensures Officer Ripley that these were not real boyfriends, and were just used to help cover her sexuality for her religious parents. Officer Ripley notes this, but seems unmoved. Shortly
after, however, Gloria convinces the DA, Barbara, to allow the case to move forward. A bench warrant for Mark's arrest is approved.
Gloria meets with Izzy, revealing that the trial will likely happen a mere two weeks before the cut of date for Izzy to have an abortion. Mark and his Father meet with a lawyer who will defend Mark. He assures the family he will fight off the conviction. They reach out to Gloria and Izzy to set up a pre-trial conference - presumably for a settlement.
The lawyer presents the Griffins' offer: $500,000 to drop the charges. After weighing her options, and a further offer of one million to drop the charges, Izzy decides to refuse the money. The Griffins are furious.
Shortly after, Izzy receives a call from her Mother - Judy, her little sister, has had an accident that their insurance will not cover. It is completely up to the results of the trial now for Izzy to get the money she needs for the abortion.
Back at the apartment, Izzy and Sera fight. Sera scolds Izzy for not taking the money, telling her there is no chance she will win the case. She gives her an ultimatum: come to her senses, or they are done as a couple.
Meanwhile, the Griffins have hired a new layer, Martin, to defend Mark. The preliminary trial is underway. Barbara questions Mark on the witness stand, where he fumbles through his answers, and sticks to the statement that Izzy verbalized consent.
This answer angers Izzy, who calls out out of turn. It is now Izzy's turn to be questioned by Barbara. Izzy gets to tell her side of the story, and clear up the accusation of her having boyfriends in the past.
Martin approaches the stand to cross-examine Izzy. Under pressure, she emphasizes the abortion, causing Martin to accuse her of gold-digging Mark for an abortion she cannot afford. Emotional, Izzy calls Mark out to the disdain of the judge. The proceedings conclude. Outside of the courtroom, Sera and Izzy reconcile, and Sera reveals her Grandmother has died.
After a short break, the Judge officially moves the trial forward. In a moment of joy, Izzy secures the internship, albeit unpaid. She happily shares the news with her parents.
Meanwhile, Mark and his parents have a sullen dinner. Gloria gets a motion approved for Mark to take a paternity test. Izzy goes to an abortion clinic to have a meeting with a counselor so that she can have the procedure done.
She schedules the meeting and drives out to have it, but is late and misses the appointment. Shortly after, the clinic closes down entirely - leaving only 2 left in Louisiana.
The trial in front of the Grand Jury begins. Gloria uses her opening statement to highlight that Mark cannot be excluded as the father due to the paternity test results, and reaffirms Izzy's position as an openly gay woman.
Martin spends his opening statements shaming Izzy's past with her alleged boyfriends, her immoral want for an abortion, and the accusation she is trying to get money out of Mark.
Sera is the first witness called to the stand. Gloria uses her time to emphasize that Izzy's hymen broke during the rape. Martin takes this chance to point out that Sera is unaware of the sex of the person Izzy cheated on her with, pointing out a possible motivation for the rape accusation - to hide the fact from Sera. A break is taken.
Izzy is now being examined by Martin. It is revealed that Sam was a pre-op male to female transgendered person. The court breaks again. Gloria comforts Izzy, but tells her chances are no longer strong. Her parents call to tell her they will be there for the last day of the trial.
Sam is examined by Martin. He highlights the fact that Sam and Izzy have been intimate, and works toward discrediting Sam's gender identity. Amidst the chaos, Pat mouths the
words "I love you" to Izzy.
Sera arrives unannounced at Izzy's apartment. They get back together and forgive one another. They become intimate, and discuss their future together. Sera suggests they may be able to raise the child together, if need be.
Late at night, Izzy sneaks into the bathroom. She sits with a hooked wire hanger, contemplating whether or not to give herself a coat hanger abortion. We cut to black as her
Out of every 1,000 rapists, only 100 are reported.
Only 30 face trial.
Only 10 are sentenced to jail time.
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