'There's no right way to be a survivor' Merritt Wever on Netflix's latest true crime offering, Unbelievable
"You can be rich, you can be white, you can be this or that, and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be believed."
Merritt Wever has said that she put a lot of time into deciding how she was going to approach playing her Unbelievable character, detective Karen Duvall.
The limited Netflix series tells the true story of Marie Alder, a young woman who was raped in her bedroom by a masked man over a decade ago.
Marie reported the crime, only to be coerced into retracting her statement some time later. She was soon dubbed a liar by the media and her peers, until proof of her attack emerged in the following years.
Wever, who plays one of the detectives who uncovers the evidence, has said that she wanted to do her character justice and, in turn, do justice for the victims involved in the story.
"In a lot of ways, I didn’t have control over the representation of the material," she told Collider. "I had to hope and trust that it was going to be handled in a way that I could get behind and support."
"I did a lot of research, specifically around guidelines for how to work with trauma victims, and how to interview them and investigate sexual assaults."
Wever said that the show's depiction of how rape survivors are often treated by police points to a considerable flaw in the system's approach to trauma.
The series' first episode sees Marie asked and again and again by law enforcement and medical professionals to recount her attack - a feat which causes her more pain each time she does it.
"The process itself is not helpful, is re-traumatizing, and is not even conducive, sometimes, to thorough investigation," she said.
"But I also think that one of the useful things about this story is showing that there is no right way to be a survivor and that things affect people differently.
"The truth is, depending on who you run into, there is no way to be a perfect victim. And I use that word in quotation marks. You can be rich, you can be white, you can be this or that, and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be believed."
You can read Wever's full interview here.
Unbelievable is now streaming on Netflix.