Hunting For a Solution to Addressing Sexual Assault

Categories: Advocacy, Public Health

I’ve been on a documentary kick, and my friend recommended that I watch “The Hunting Ground.”  The story mainly follows two female students from the University of North Carolina, both of whom are victims of sexual assault.  They file a Title IX complaint against the university for its lack of response to the rapes. Title IX prohibits discrimination against a person based on sex in any federally funded activity, such as athletics and academics.  When I finished watching, I was angry — angry at the college system and angry at the fact that there wasn’t much I could do.  However, working at The L.A. Trust has taught me that I can be proactive through health education.  Part of solving the problem is spreading awareness while helping inform people on the issue.

As advocates for health, we need to teach students how to prevent sexual assault. The wellness centers provide great resources for sexual health and mental health, but there wasn’t much information regarding sexual abuse, which affects both. Motives often stem from social constructs that need to be addressed at an early age.  We, as health educators, can teach students about healthy relationships, communication, and when “no means no.” We can plant the seed for change and allow student engagement to cultivate that discussion among youth advocates.

Victims are often times left with afflictions that aren’t just one-time consequences of rape. They continually affect a student’s learning and everyday life.  The L.A. Trust emphasizes preventative care, and that should include education that embraces serious conversation about sexual harassment and breaks down social roles that perpetuate rape culture. By targeting the root of the problem, we not only prevent sexual assaults from occurring, but also impede the effects that take a mental toll on victims.

“The Hunting Ground” is available to stream on Netflix, or you can rent it for around $4. I highly encourage everyone to see this documentary, because it is imperative to raise awareness of what is happening on college campuses as well as the effect it has on students.  Sexual assault is a sensitive topic to discuss, but it is also vital that we create a safe space and encourage discussion regarding prevention and response. We need to work to inspire radical changes, and I hope you feel as motivated to do so after watching as I did.

Carly HaliliCarly Halili will soon be a third year Film and Television major at Boston University.  She is currently a communications intern at The L.A. Trust and enjoys learning about new foods, art, architecture.  She is helping to produce new videos that will narrate the work of The Trust and Wellness Network.

 

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