‘Baby Reindeer’ is making a shocking impact on an oft-forgotten community

‘Baby Reindeer’ is making a shocking impact on an oft-forgotten community

As far as 2024 is concerned, it’s safe to say there’s been no greater sensation than Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer, the Netflix autodrama described by the one and only Stephen King as seven “short, swift stabs administered by a very sharp knife.” That’s to say that the plight of Donny Dunn will leave you gutted, and the tender necessity of it all is likely to leave you just as profoundly moved.

But more importantly, Baby Reindeer is accomplishing that which every piece of great art aspires to; it’s making a tangible impact in the world. Indeed, according to We Are Survivors, a Greater Manchester-based organization dedicated to male sexual assault survivors, 53% of all referrals made to them within the first two weeks of Baby Reindeer‘s premiere, were made because the caller had reportedly watched the miniseries (as reported by The Tab). The organization also reported an 80% increase in first-time callers since Baby Reindeer‘s premiere.

The phenomenon is entirely indicative of the real-life influence that art is capable of having on the world. One thinks back to 2018, when the Chilean film A Fantastic Woman—which tells the story of Marina, a transgender woman who must face bravely face the world following the sudden death of her boyfriend — won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, which had a massive influence on legislation in support of trans rights getting passed in the country.

And now with Baby Reindeer inspiring male survivors of sexual assault to seek out help for navigating their pain, we’re yet again bearing witness to the ways in which film and television can well and truly change the world, even if it’s the world of just one person. Indeed, we are all mosaics of the voices we allow ourselves to hear, and the singular vulnerability of Baby Reindeer‘s voice has clearly left a lasting impact on many of its viewers. The voices of those survivors may in turn change someone else’s world, and so continues humanity’s most beautiful exchange.

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