Taylor Ward // Staff Writer
“Finally, we’re saying ‘rape’ out loud.”
Stars of the sexual assault documentary, The Hunting Ground, attended the on-campus screening of the film at Tucker Theatre on Tuesday evening. Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, two of the main subjects of the movie, were joined by the film’s executive producer, Ruth Ann Harnisch, in a panel regarding campus safety and awareness of sexual assault.
Andrea and Annie began their college careers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, but tragedy threw these two women into an adventure neither expected. Pino and Clark were both sexually assaulted while attending UNC and suffered from more than the attacks: these students were blamed for what had occurred on campus. The administration did not take the action required to properly handle either case; the two would later find out this is happening to too many victims. Administrations of educational institutions are suppressing complaints and neglecting due diligence for thousands of students, both men and women.
Andrea and Annie connected after their assaults and have begun a movement through their organization, “End Rape on Campus.” The organization began by making connections with victims on the UNC campus as well as dozens of other universities around the country. Education of student rights is the first step, by filing a Title IX; it is every students’ legal right to receive an equal education.
The free screening was held in support of the national campaign, “It’s On Us,” to pledge to “be part of the solution.” Students entering the event were able to sign the pledge and received a teabag as they entered the theater. Beverly Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, opened with an explanation to the teabags, providing a short clip about consent.
During the panel held after the screening, the film’s subjects and producer were joined by campus representatives Marian Wilson and Heidi Zimmerman as well as campus police chief Buddy Peaster to discuss victim resources at Middle Tennessee State University.
Questions and comments were taken from the audience of students and professors, revealing some alarming and heartbreaking truths. Victims of sexual assault of all ages came forward, some brought to tears because rape could not be a conversation until recently in society. Panel representatives sincerely offered counseling and other resources, offering some hope that MTSU will be a campus to “step up and step forward in the right direction,” a hope Annie Clark expressed will change the future.
MTSU victim resources can be accessed at www.mtsu.edu/sexual-violence and campus police can be reached at (615)898-2424 at all hours. In the event of a sexual assault it is encouraged one seek medical attention and notify campus representative with the assurance of confidentiality.
More information about Title IX and sexual assault victim resources can be found at endrapeoncampus.org or visit itsonus.org to learn more about taking the pledge against sexual violence.
To contact news editor Sarah Grace Taylor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.