Searching for Angela Shelton

89 minutes 2014

In this thought-provoking documentary, filmmaker Angela Shelton travels across the United States looking for other women who have her same name. Her objective is to randomly survey the women of America, in the hope that in so doing it will help her find herself.

She contacted women named Angela Shelton who ranged from age 21 to 48. These women came from all walks of life with all kinds of backgrounds.

As she gets to sit with some of them and talks to others on the phone, what she discovers is mind-blowing. Just like herself, a whopping 24 out of 40 Angela Sheltons have been victims of abuse.

These women were raped, beaten, or molested, usually by somebody they knew. One woman was molested by her father, brother, and step-mother.

Another woman describes how she was on her way from the movies one night when a stranger attacked her from behind, dragged her by the neck into a park, and tried to rape her. But her friend didn’t run away, instead she stayed by her side and together they fought against him until he gave up. ‘All of us females should stick together’, she states. But that is easier said than done, because society deliberately pits women against each other.

It’s a sad fact that abuse is the constant reality for many women living all over the world. Often the abuse begins at a young age for both the victim and the abuser. The stories are upsetting and heartbreaking, particularly because many of these women go through life believing that they are unworthy or tainted in some way because of what was done to them. Some of them find comfort in believing that there was some spiritual reason for the abuse and that it happened to teach them a lesson. This mindset affects all levels of their lives.

Listening to their painful experiences begs the questions: who is responsible for bringing up boys who have no respect and no love for females? And, is it possible that abuse has become so commonplace that society is no longer affected by it?

Then the filmmaker meets an Angela Shelton who tracks sex offenders. This Angela lives in the same town as the filmmaker’s father—the man who molested her and her stepsiblings for years. As a result of that abuse, Angela was removed from the home and sent into foster care when she was a child. Defining her father as a sexual predator makes her story come alive because it’s not just a case she heard about; it’s her own experience. Inspired by all the stories, she decides to confront her dad, but his reaction is not at all what she expected. Watch this film, now.

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  • janice weiss

    What a powerful, moving, and empowering film. It feels like a gift to me, and I think I’ll remember it for a long, long time!

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