WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School (WOHS) Student Assistant Counselors (SAC) Keshia Golding-Cooper and Amadeo Chirichiello screened an important film for students and parents earlier this month called “The Hunting Ground,” which looks at the statistics of sexual assault on college campuses.

The film was nominated for several awards, including two Emmy nominations and winner of the Stanley Kramer Award by the Producer’s Guild of America.

Female students shared their stories of sexual assault on campuses including Harvard Law School, George Washington University, USC, Tufts, MIT, Princeton, Notre Dame, Michigan and Emerson. One statistics included that 16 percent of females are assaulted on college campuses across the country, but that 88 percent of them do not report the assaults. Additionally, alcohol and/or drugs are reported to be involved in 95 percent of the assaults.

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For those who do report the assaults, statistics show that these individuals rarely see justice by their colleges, primarily due to schools' financial interests. Even when perpetrators are found to be guilty, they are rarely expelled and are allowed back on campus, according to the presentation.

The tide has begun to turn as young women are standing up and saying “no” to sexual assaults on their campuses and learning how to file Title IX complaints against their colleges. Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education including the discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence.

Survivors—not only women, but the LGBTQ community and men as well–are continuing to organize and take a stand against sexual abuse on campuses. They have an uphill fight, however, as current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos noted that the Education Department wants to reverse course with Title IX, claiming that the Obama administration had gone too far protecting student survivors to the detriment of the accused.

Social Worker Robin Krugman of Jewish Family Services was on hand at WOHS for the screening and conducted a question-and-answer session following the film, which is a must-see for all students entering college.

An important discussion was held encouraging students to devise safety plans on campus with their friends. Once a student turns 18, parents are not included in campus issues unless included by their children.

Although the screening was held in the evening to accommodate parents, counselors intend to set up school-day screenings for seniors moving forward. 

Learn more about “The Hunting Ground” and resources here.

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