The Keepers – a must see Netflix Original documentary on coming forward and seeking the truth
By Sara M. McDonald
“The Keepers” is a must-see Netflix original true-crime documentary which exposes a long history of sexual and emotional abuse in the 1960s at the hands of an ordained priest.
Unlike the ever popular “Making a Murder,” another true-crime Netflix favorite, “The Keepers” seeks to give a voice to the victims and not to the criminal.
For the subject matter, this is usually the opposite way to handle the situation. Sexual and emotional abuse is so commonly thought of as a taboo subject that Hollywood tries to avoid it altogether. In an intriguing move, Netflix dared to tackle it.
“The Keepers” is a seven-part series that follows the struggles of former students now in their sixties who are seeking justice for the wrongdoing they have endured. Sister Cathy Cesnick, the series’ primary focus, was a young nun who disappeared while running errands in November 1969. The following year her body was found with her skull broken. Her murder was never solved, but there are theories.
Sister Cesnick worked at Archbishop Keough School, where the students adored and trusted her—so much so that they are haunted by her unsolved case. As a result, they have never quit their quest for the truth.
It took years for the victims of horrendous acts to come forward about the sexual and emotional abuse they endured at the hands of Father Maskell. Most of that courage is founded on the idea that they want justice and truth about what happened to Sister Cesnick and why.
The students trusted her. Did they trust her with a secret? Their secret? Did Father Maskell have something to do with her murder as a result?
The documentary is raw and heart-wrenching. There are terrifying stories of abuse but extraordinary moments of courage.
This documentary comes at a time when our community and culture needs to understand the dangerous and life-changing outcomes of emotional and sexual abuse. It comes at a time when we are still trying to grasp the importance of coming forward and fighting for justice and what is right.
We, as a community, could learn a lot from this group of brave women, especially as Betsy DeVos is relooking at the Obama era guidelines of Title IX and the #metoo movement in the wake of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s abuse scandal. There has never been a better time to stay educated and to watch the effects that come from not protecting students and not believing victims.
This documentary was expertly and beautifully executed. It is a must-see for anyone who is remotely interested in changing the future by dismantling rape culture.
Let’s learn from their past and hope that these women can find the peace and answers they deserve.
Pictured Above: This documentary comes at a time when our community and culture needs to understand the dangerous and life-changing outcomes of emotional and sexual abuse. Courtesy of Netflix