By Darlene Galvan
Female college students share their stories of struggle when colleges’ disregarded their pleas for help when reporting that they were sexually assaulted by male college students during the free documentary screening of “The Hunting Ground.”
Andrea Pino and Annie Clark were undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at the time they were sexually assaulted, and joined together to begin a mission to help other college students across the nation to file the Title IX complaint. This is a law that protects people from discrimination on U.S. colleges to the U.S. Board of Education because of universities lack of assistance in not reporting sexual assaults.
The U.S. Board of Education provides the definition of Title IX as “the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance… (it’s) regulation describes the conduct that violates Title IX. Examples include sexual harassment, the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics and discrimination based on pregnancy.”
U.S. Department of Education maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. and 12 offices across the U.S.
The documentary opened with Pino and Clark sharing their experiences as college students, the days they were sexually assaulted and how the experience has shaped their lives, including their families’.
Pino disclosed she was raped days before the beginning of a semester. “I got hit on the head on the sink in a bathroom…and later found out that he had also assaulted two other people,” Pino said. Pino said the University of North Carolina did nothing to help her. After Pino finally had the courage to report the sexual assault, the college “sat on the report for seven months” and later decided that they would not take disciplinary action on the accuser.
Clark said that she and Pino learned how to file a Title IX complaint utilizing Google. The two of them became friends after sharing their sexual assault, depression, anxiety and the college’s rejection to help them.
Colleges that receive federal funding are mandated to report sexual assaults that occur on campus to the U.S. Board of Education. The film reveals colleges nationwide hiding sexual assaults incidents and college presidents and administration actively participating in concealing the dirty secrets. Instead of colleges actively protecting sexually assaulted victims they instead protect the accused perpetrators, especially if they are athletes in a college sport.
A high profile athlete from Florida State, James Winston, who was selected to join the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers on May 1, was accused of raping Erica Kinsman, a college peer. The District Attorney found Winston clear of wrongdoing because there was not sufficient evidence of the allegations, even though Kinsman was given a rape kit examination when taken to a hospital the night she was attacked by Winston.
Two clinical social workers represented the Center of Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) opened the discussion for Q&A. The discussion revealed that no one in the audience knew how to file a Title IX complaint.
The representatives assured they visit campus to prevent sexual assaults and to provide appropriate handling of reporting.
“Same school laws apply when students study abroad, but we are working to help with (strengthening) international laws. We are also working with undocumented students to come forward with their story and not fear deportation for reporting assault,” said CCASA.
A CCASA representative said stopping men from assaulting others needs to happen early. “It’s a community problem. The problem is that it starts earlier than college, it starts with the idea of (entitlement), control and lack of consequences.”
CCASA also provided an update stating that the U.S. Board of Education is currently investigating 100 colleges.
An ELAC’s Women’s Center representative announced the “Men’s Circle,” a group that assists men who have been impacted by sexual and family violence. The group’s purpose is to start a dialogue on the perspective of men on the violence against women, and will begin May 5 and end June 2 from 5-6:30p.m at G1-301.
The 90 minute film was directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering. The film screening event was sponsored by the Sexual Assault Awareness & Violence Education Team (SAAVE) with ELAC Women’s and Men’s Support Center. More than 150 people attended the screening on April 28.
For more information or help regarding sexual assault visit the ELAC’s Women’s Center at G-127 or for additional resources, visit elawc.org.