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Lynnwood based Netflix series ‘Unbelievable’ nominated for Golden Globes

Advocates hope bringing attention to the series will help educate people, change policies, and give victims of sexual assault a voice.
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
FILE - This Dec. 9, 2019 file photo shows replicas of Golden Globe statues at the nominations for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 5. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A Netflix drama that's nominated for four Golden Globes, including Best Limited Series for Motion Picture, is based on a story that started in the northwest. Sexual assault advocates hope it brings attention to an important topic and gives a voice to victims across the country.

The series called “Unbelievable,” is based on a Lynnwood woman's case.

In 2008, the woman reported being raped by an intruder. But she recanted when police found inconsistencies in her story. 

She kept saying she couldn't get images of her attacker out of her head and tried to say the attack happened but police prosecuted her for filing a false police report. 

It was years before the woman was vindicated by Colorado detectives who convicted serial rapist Marc O'Leary and linked him to her case. 

“The fact that this is getting the visibility that it sheds light on something that we have known for some time,” explained Mary Ellen Stone from the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.

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Stone is glad to see the show getting attention and believes it highlights the issue of victims going back on their story that many people don't understand.

"It's not uncommon for victims not to be believed for all sorts of reasons,” Stone said. “I think we as a society see some victims as more credible than others so that's one of the factors that go into it and the other factor too, it's not uncommon for some victims to recant under a lot of pressure.”

Lynnwood's police chief declined to talk about the case on camera. He was not with the department when it happened but wrote an open letter saying the department made changes to prevent this type of thing from happening again, including more training and a more victim-centered approach to investigations. 

Stone says changes are critical “the more that we can say here's what's happening the more we can shift public opinion and policy to make it easier for victims to come forward.”

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center has a 24-hour helpline 888-99-VOICE that can provide help for anyone in the state. The center has resources for victims and their loved ones.

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