As found by a 2007 U.S. Department of Justice study on campus sexual assault, and echoed again in a 2014 report from the White House task force to protect students from sexual assault, it is estimated that one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during her time in college.
To bring awareness to this statistic and the dangers women face on college campuses, on Oct. 20, a screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground” will start at 7 p.m. at the Carmike Cinemas-Ritz 16 on Haddonfield-Berlin Road.
The film documents sexual violence on U.S. college campuses by presenting students discussing being sexually assaulted, as well as looking at institutional cover-ups and those who are working toward change.
Hosting the screening is “Project SARAH” (Stop Abusive Relationships at Home) — the domestic abuse prevention program of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the Southern New Jersey branch of which is located in Cherry Hill.
The screening comes as the “Yes Means Yes” bill is introduced by 6th Legislative District Sen. James Beach, D-Camden, and works its way through the Legislature.
The “Yes Means Yes” bill would block colleges and universities from receiving state funds for student assistance program unless those institutions adopted an affirmative consent standard regarding sexual assault.
The legislation hopes to move away from the long-standing sexual assault prevention campaign slogan “No Means No” by requiring campus sexual investigations to prove that verbal consent was given for sex to be considered consensual.
Beach will also be present at the screening to give a special address before the start of the film.
“The bill is going through all the steps it needs to go through, and hopefully it’ll pass a few weeks after the screening,” said Project SARAH coordinator and Voorhees resident Hilary Platt.
Platt said after the film, there will also be a talk from a survivor of campus sexual assault, who Platt said has a story appropriate and impactful for both the students and parents who might be in attendance.
“Her story is twofold, as, one, it’s not too graphic, because fortunately she got away, and, two, she went to another male for help after it happened,” Platt said.
Platt said stories such as that provide examples of the wrong and right behavior of young males on college campuses, which she said can be further influenced by values installed from parents.
“We want to say to the community that we have the power not only to change laws but to sit down and talk to our kids and educate them and change the culture with ourselves,” Platt said.
Tickets for “The Hunting Ground” screening on Oct. 20 are available to the general public for a donation of $10 for students and $15 for adults, which includes soda and popcorn.
Funds raised from the screening with go toward the JFCS Project SARAH Domestic Abuse program.
For information, call (856) 424–1333, or to purchase tickets , visit www.jfcssnj.org/huntingground.
As a follow-up to the film, a free self-defense training workshop will be offered at Israeli Krav Maga in Cherry Hill on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 1–3 p.m.
Those in abusive relationships can call Project SARAH at (856) 424–1333 and ask to speak to “Sarah” as a way to covertly request assistance.