An Australian documentary called Silent No More has exposed the names, identities, and stories of two women who shared their stories with the documentary’s host but never consented to revealing their identifying information in the film.
According to an investigation by Buzzfeed News and News.com.au, a company called Southern Pictures was producing the three-part documentary for the Australian Broadcasting Company. In a shot from a preview copy of the series sent to media outlets, host Tracey Spicer scrolls through stories from survivors of sexual assault sent to her as Facebook messages. The scene shows three messages, along with un-blurred photographs and names of the senders.
One of the women, who is going by the pseudonym Mary in the report, says that while she did message Spicer following a tweet calling for stories about sexual assault, the Buzzfeed investigation into the doxing was the first she had heard of the documentary. Mary’s message revealed her real name, industry, occupation, and the year she was assaulted, all of which were fully visible in the preview copy.
The second woman, whose profile is also revealed in the shot, goes by the pseudonym Tiffany and says she is an award-winning performer. In her message, she identified her assailant as a director in a sub-genre of the film industry, all details visible in the shot. Her message also revealed that she would feel unsafe if her story was aired, as she was experiencing domestic violence from her partner at the time she shared her story.
A third woman whose private information was also revealed in the scene has died since messaging Spicer. Southern Pictures told Buzzfeed she consented to share her story in the documentary but that her name would be blurred when the series aired. The ABC has canceled a private screening of Silent No More, and taken down the YouTube trailer.
This week, Spicer is scheduled to accept a Sydney Peace Prize along with Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement. In a statement, Spicer says she “was assured survivors’ identities would be fully protected.” The ABC has apologized for any “harm or upset” they caused by revealing the victims’ identities and stories without their consent.