Film night sheds light on campus epidemic

Melanie Calimlim, Staff member

In recognizing Women’s History month, DVC has held events this March to showcase the accomplishments of women over the years. However, on March 17, a film showed a major difficulty women continue to trudge though, rape culture. A representative of The American Association of University Women played the documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” where the institutional cover-ups on college campuses are revealed through the accounts of multiple victims and how their lives were impacted by the injustices they faced.

The documentary began with a few clips from YouTube, showing the ecstatic expressions of young women being accepted into their colleges of their dreams. Leaving home for a university that is highly regarded, they expected nothing but the best – in all aspects.

However, after a sexual assault had taken place, students wishing to file a complaint only received skepticism from their superiors.

Instead of investigating, they asked what type of clothes they were wearing, if they lead their “assailants” on, and if they were drunk. In short they were blaming the victim. According to the documentary, the victims’ assailants were not given considerable punishment. Some were simply given $25 to $75 fines. One alleged rapist was expelled, albeit after graduation.

In one instance the alleged rapist was asked to compose a list of 10 things on how to approach a woman he liked.  Rarely did the assailant get dismissed from the university he attended, let alone face formal prosecution from the law. The women whose voices were silenced received everything that the university had to offer, except respect and justice.

Despite the multiple outcries from sexually assaulted women from different universities across the U.S., an AAUW analysis of data released by the U.S. Department of Education showed that a staggering 91 percent of college campuses reported zero incidents of rape in 2014.

Sexual complaints to the administration are usually tossed aside, and sometimes even forgotten as administrators have the wrong incentives in trying to suppress any sort of sexual misconduct. Their reputation is apparently worth more than the victims’ well being. Universities that have reputable athletic departments can’t be toyed with, and if their star athlete was a suspect, administrators did everything they could to dismiss the assault as something minor so they could continue to win games and garner popularity.

The two primary subjects of the documentary, Andrea Pino and Annie Clark both attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and were victims of sexual assault. Both experienced having their voices silenced and stories questioned. They decided that something needed to be done with how sexual assault is handle on university campuses. Pino and Clark, now co-founders of the survivor advocacy group, End Rape on Campus, have been a national voice for victims.

Scenes of storytelling pulled on emotions of sadness when hearing how women’s lives were negatively impacted after an assault. It elevated to disgust when a young man interviewed said that just because a woman says no to sex and they engage in sex anyways, it should not mean that he is automatically a rapist.

After the film there was a discussion which included ways on how to shed light on this epidemic. Answers ranged from getting the word out that rape culture does exist, to parents should teach their sons from a young age that women should be treated as equals and respected. This film definitely opened up the minds and eyes of those that attended that night.