This dizzying documentary showed the Nikki Yovino sexual assault case as Kafkaesque, revealing the horrifying shortcomings of the legal system

In the US, the average conviction rate for reported rapes (already the tip of a despicably large iceberg) is about 3%. By the end of Sex on Trial, Channel 4’s documentary about the Nikki Yovino case, you could be forgiven for marvelling that it is even that high.

It is a study in competing narratives, shifting perspectives and power relations and it begins in December 2016, when Yovino, an 18-year-old Connecticut university student, reported to the police that she had been raped by two student football players after they pulled her into the bathroom at a Christmas party. In the video footage of her interview, she describes one of them forcing her head down on him while the other rapes her from behind. She tried, she says, to “drag her teeth” on his penis but decided not to bite down. “I just gave up – I was scared for my life. I didn’t want to die.”

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