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Students come to Davis campus to watch The Hunting Ground, a documentary educating people about sexual assault on Oct. 12. (Tara Carrasco / The Signpost)

About 30 students gathered to watch an award-winning documentary on a controversial subject matter: sexual assault reporting at college.

On October 12, at the Weber State Davis Campus, the Safe@Weber program hosted a showing of the film “The Hunting Ground” to educate students on the topic of sexual assault on college campuses.

“At Weber, we want students to know that we believe survivors, that we care about them and that we want them to have full access to their rights,” said Paige Davies, Safe@Weber advocate. “The movie has some stories that are controversial because they have ongoing investigations into the sexual assaults.”

“The Hunting Ground” is a film that documents the experiences of several women from different American college campuses. These women were sexually assaulted, and upon reporting it to their school, were ignored by those in authority.

Two of the victims depicted in the film have created an advocacy group for sexual assault victims and are seeking to help others who have gone through similar experiences.

“It’s crazy to think how often this happens,” said attendee Salma Melero. “It happens more often than we would think, and we can’t ignore it because it does happen.”

During the presentation of the film, the audience seemed emotionally invested with some crying during victims’ testimonies, some vocally expressing disappointment towards the colleges’ response and others laughing at how some people accused of rape don’t consider their acts to be “assault.”

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A table offers information and pins on the topic of sexual assault during the showing of The Hunting Ground at Davis campus on Oct. 12. (Tara Carrasco / The Signpost)
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Pins that bring awareness to the topic of sexual assault lie on a table during the Davis campus showing of The Hunting Ground on Oct. 12. (Tara Carrasco / The Signpost)

While the most of the audience was heavily interested, one audience member in particular felt that this showing could have been a life-changing event.

“I’m thinking about changing my major now,” said Paige Davis, who attended the event. “Seeing these women’s stories, it made me realize that there’s more work to be done. I want to help to do that work.”

Raising awareness of sexual assault is one of the main goals of Safe@Weber.

“A lot of times when we talk to Weber State students, they don’t know that this happens in Utah,” said Davies. “Showing the film, discussing the topic is an awareness. For the survivors out there, we’re putting this on, we’re going to talk about this and we’re not going to hide it.”

The film addresses how non-consensual sex acts have been going on at colleges for decades, but it addresses how both women and men are victims of sexual assault at college campuses.

“The Women’s Center is not just for women,” said Melero. “It’s a safe place that anyone can come to who has been a victim of sexual assault.”

Events like this demonstrate that Safe@Weber is here to be an advocate to anyone who is in need of help.

“We want people to know that Weber will not respond like this,” Davies said “If they come and seek services at the Women’s Center about assault, that we believe them.”

For more information about Safe@Weber, visit the Women Center’s website.

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