Last Tuesday NUSU’s Marginalised Genders Officer, Lucy Morgan hosted a screening of documentary “The Hunting Ground” in the Bamburgh Room at Kings’ Road Centre.
The screening, part of NUS’ #STANDBYME campaign, took place to amplify the voices of student survivors of sexual violence. The NUS campaign was launched in November of last year to repeal outdated sexual assault guidelines that many institutions still follow.
#STANDBYME will bring together rape crisis centres, universities, and colleges to improve support for survivors of sexual assault and rape.
Lucy Morgan told The Courier: “Stand By Me is an NUS campaign that aims to prioritise and raise awareness of the voices of survivors of sexual violence. I have bought this campaign to Newcastle University as I believe that this universiry is currently adopting a reactive rather than proactive response to sexual assault and violence. The focus has been to raise awareness of the current reporting systems available to students and to empower them to use them”
“The Hunting Ground”, shortlisted for an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category and deemed a “monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses”, follows the stories of several students at various US universities who were sexually assaulted and who refuse to be silenced after being let down by the way their respective universities handled their cases.
“The focus has been to raise awareness of the current reporting systems available to students”
The documentary focuses on former University of North Carolina (UNS) students Andrea Pino and Annie Clark who were raped while attending the university. They spearheaded a campaign to file a Title IX complaint against UNC. With their rapists still attending the university and threatening their safety and that of other potential victims, it is clear that UNC was in violation of this act.
Viewers were shown examples of how universities discouraged victims from going to the police, and how an official told someone to “drop out until everything blows over”, while another told a victim, “don’t talk to anyone about this”.
“The university should be extremely worried (rather than proud) of low sexual harassment reports on campus as it means that people are not coming forward rather than suggesting that it is not happening,” Lucy Morgan said. “I want to send out a strong message to survivors of sexual violence - I am with you and I believe that we should campaign for the university to stand by you too.”