Entertainment

Ruth Wilson: I needed to give sexual assault victims a voice in Dark River

The actress described an emotional experience as she researched for her role.

Luther star Ruth Wilson has spoken about how important it was for her to give a voice to the victims of sexual assault in her latest film.

The actress stars in British director Clio Barnard’s movie Dark River as a woman returning to her home village in Yorkshire for the first time in 15 years to claim the tenancy of her family farm, decades after she was abused there.

Arriving at the film’s premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, she told the Press Association: “It’s a period of time in recent history where it was happening a lot and people knew about it and weren’t really voicing it or it was part of the culture.

Dark River – BFI London Film Festival 2017
Ruth Wilson (right) and Esme Creed-Miles attend the premiere of Dark River (Ian West/PA)

“It exists in lots of institutions, that we know about, but this is inside the home and Clio said that is where it exists more predominantly than anywhere else, so it’s really important to tell that story as well.

“It’s coming out and people are giving voice to those experiences and saying ‘no, it’s wrong and it should be stopped’, and we have to deal with it and society has to deal with it.

“We can’t just leave it to the individuals, we have to help people to retune the way people think and the way they have been brought up in that way.”

Wilson added that the role was a particularly difficult and emotional experience, saying: “I was speaking to psychologists about it and the idea of intrusive memory and oppressed memory deep trauma creates in people.

Dark River – BFI London Film Festival 2017
Ruth Wilson (left) and Clio Barnard on the red carpet (Ian West/PA)

“It can come out when you are least expecting it, or 30 years later, and that is really fascinating to me, how it imprints on your memory, these deep traumas, and how we could all have imprints of that.

“It was really tough and for that character to be in that place the whole time and to be striving to deal with it every day, she is a brave woman, and trying to fight off those demons and also fight her own feeling of responsibility.

“That is why it’s complex. Lots of people who have been abused feel they are in some way responsible for it, so I think that is a major issue that is hard to overcome.”

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