Movie Review: Alison

Alison the Movie: A Powerful South African Story of HOPE - SAPeople -  Worldwide South African News

credit: Alison

There’s trauma that will break a person and trauma that people build up because they desire attention, and trying to tell the two apart by assigning a degree of importance to the trauma is a popular pastime of many people. But with Alison, this type of trauma is something that would drive a lot of people into seclusion if they were able to survive it. The amount of harm done to the woman in this movie is the type that would surely break a lot of individuals since being raped, assaulted, disemboweled, and left for dead doesn’t sound like something that many people would be able to live through. Even those that managed to do so would no doubt be scarred for life in ways that might never heal, and that’s not even counting the physical scars that would remain with them for the rest of their lives. But the titular character in this tale is someone that is obviously built of tougher stuff than most, and whether it was the will to live or the stubbornness that she was born with to cling to a life that had been nearly taken from her by force, it’s a story that has inspired a great number of people, even if we don’t get to hear about it that often. Sadly, inspirational stories don’t get as much play as tragedies, even when both happen to occur in the same tale. 

Abducted, raped, stabbed and left for dead: Alison Botha's incredible story  of survival now a film | Sunday Times Books LIVE

credit: Alison

From a physical standpoint, there’s no way this woman should have been able to survive. 

With her guts hanging out, her throat cut in a way that made it appear that her head could be severed if the would-be killers had made a concentrated attempt, and the fact that she was in an isolated spot without anyone to help her, it does feel that her odds of survival were as low as they could have been. But somehow, this woman managed to survive this encounter and even recover from her wounds later on. When speaking of medical marvels, it’s very easy to think that doctors and physicians have seen a great deal of stuff in their lives that defies an easy explanation or diagnosis. But thinking of the patience and determination that was given to this woman during her recovery, and the possibility that the doctors were wondering how she’d managed to stay alive so long, is enough to make a lot of people think that survival is a personal thing. If a person wants it, then there’s a good chance that they’ll find a way to achieve it. 

The emotional harm that this could have done, and likely did, is enough to cause many people to shut down for good. 

These days it feels as though people get their feelings hurt if you call them by the wrong pronoun or don’t recognize them in the manner they want. But something like this, the kind of trauma this woman had to endure, and the damage it could have done to her psyche, stands out as one of the worst possible side effects of such an encounter. There’s no doubt that she suffered a great deal initially and that, for a while, she had to find ways to get through her day. But eventually, it sounds as though she simply refused to be hampered by this any longer, and if she does suffer from PTSD, it also sounds as though she’s refused to be beaten down by what happened to her. It doesn’t feel possible to say that she’s going to forget this moment and simply live happily ever after, but considering what she’s gained following this story, it does feel as though she’s stronger now than she’s ever been. 

Alison (2016) - IMDb

credit: Alison

Her ability to move on is phenomenal, but keeping herself from becoming a lifelong victim is even more impressive. 

It might confuse some folks, but the fact that this lady moved on with her life and even had a couple of kids of her own is amazing since, thanks to the damage that was done to her insides, it was stated that she shouldn’t even think of having children. But instead of letting life beat her down, and the memories keep her from moving forward, she decided to keep living and did her own thing. Since the encounter, she had two boys, and after the pain of recovery has decided to keep pushing onward, even going so far as to reject the insane claims that her attacker made that he was the reason she became so strong in the first place. She chose not to be a victim, which should hopefully prove that this is possible. 

This story does manage to make a case for the resilience of human beings that have suffered through great trauma. 

Seriously, how many people would be able to endure what this woman went through and keep going? She did admit that she wanted to give up at one point, but it doesn’t sound as though her mind and body were in agreement on this, and after realizing that she wasn’t dead yet, she kept moving forward. Too many people these days might decide that it was just time to lie down and die, and it would be hard to fault anyone for such a thought after taking this kind of damage. But it’s just as important to remember that some folks are ready and willing to keep going. 

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