By Yecenia Alcaraz
East Los Angeles College’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Violence Education Team (S.A.A.V.E.) and the East L.A. Women’s Center sponsored a movie screening, “The Hunting Ground” on Tuesday for students and with community members to raise awareness on sexual assault.
“The Hunting Ground” is a documentary that discloses rape crimes on school grounds across the United States while exposing cover ups made by the school campuses.
April is “Sexual Assault Month” for S.A.A.V.E. and the East L.A. Women’s Center. Both organizations meet bi-monthly to raise ongoing awareness through the year.
“We want people to know that sexual assault on campus does happen, but at the same time we want people to know that if this does happen they are not alone and they have options” campus advocate Luis Mendoza said.
According to Mendoza, East L.A. Women’s Center is in their 41st year, providing services such as: free counseling, group sessions, and a 24-hour crisis hotline for students and community members who have been victims of sexual assault.
“We want people to be able to come to us for help and walk out feeling more at ease and to walk out with less weight on their shoulders” said Mendoza.
Mendoza said many students are not aware that most campuses do not have a particular protocol or resources for issues such as sexual assault.
Both S.A.A.V.E. and The East L.A. Women’s Center have the same goal in mind: to raise awareness and a complete understanding of the resources available to not only students, but any victims of sexual assault.
“We do not only want high attendance at the screening, our goal is to make sure students spread the news themselves” said E.L.A.C. associate sociology professor Eileen Le.
Le said that even though many campuses do not have policies intended for specific situations such as sexual assault, policies are slowly beginning to be implemented such as “Title IX.”
The website “endrapeoncampus.org” was formed by university graduates, explains that Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.
“The goal of this movement is to bring awareness and for everyone who attends the screening, to feel confident that they have a clear definition and understanding of sexual assault and consent” said Le.
Le said the documentary was created by two university students who began looking into how often sexual assault was committed on college campuses and slowly started realizing that there were many issues.
The website “IMDB” includes a trivia statement in regard to the documentary: 19 Harvard Law professors challenged the accuracy of the film.
Le said, the documentary is based on investigative reporting with Harvard University being one of the campuses the documentary focuses on. Therefore, she does not find this information surprising.
“It is disappointing to hear college professors’ dispute facts in the film. It took a lot of strength and courage for the victims to come forward and disclose their assaults” said Mendoza.