The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Movie Night Opens Eyes to Sexual Assault, Gender Stereotypes

Credit: Wikipedia.com.

Credit: Wikipedia.com.

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On Monday January 30, Williston boarders, along with a few day students, gathered at 8pm to kick off the following day’s “Why Not Speak? Day” with a movie.

Girls sprawled out across the floor of the Reed Campus Center to watch “The Hunting Ground,” a film addressing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses across the United States. The film featured true stories of both men and women who survived sexual assault during their college years.

Boys sat in the theater to watch “The Mask You Live In,” a movie regarding the issue of masculinity in today’s society.

Director of Student Activities, Erin Davey, chose these movies with help from her colleagues.

“The film for the boys was much easier for me to choose,” she said. “I spoke with a few people and decided that this film was the most up-to-date and informative film that our male students could relate to the most.”

“Choosing the film for the girls was much harder,” she added. “Last year’s movie was so amazing that I felt I wanted to evoke the same empowering feelings amongst our female students.”

Davey explained how aside from educating ourselves, the goal of this night was to see that there is an avenue for activism on these issues and that students do not have to sit in silence.

Jamie O’Malley ’20 also had positive reflections on the night. “I loved the movie night because I think it created a real sense of community among the girls, it brought us together despite how much or how little we’ve talked in the past.”

Kevin O’Sullivan ’18 appreciated the movie choice for the guys as well. “I think it had a huge impact on the guys, and [masculinity today] is an important issue to address.”

Following the film, each dorm grouped in their own common rooms to discuss reactions and feedback.

In Mem East, the conversation lasted for at least 45 minutes.

“I thought the talks were definitely good because we got to hear different perspectives and people shared advice on how to deal with and ways to prevent sexual assault,” Jamie said.

When asked how the discussions could be improved for the future, Jamie added “I wish more people participated in the discussion rather than the same core girls. I think maybe doing it in smaller groups would be beneficial and people would feel less pressure.” She also noted that the discussions continued for days after the movie among students and their friends.

The guys had a slightly different experience. Kevin stated a lot of guys reacted defensively to the film. “Some of the them felt attacked or targeted by subjects discussed in the movie such as athletes and rape culture.” He added that the discussions still had a lot of good points and were a healthy way of coping and expressing thoughts.

Davey has plans to revisit this night in the spring. “I’d actually like to switch the films and have the boys watch the film the girls watched and vice versa.”

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Movie Night Opens Eyes to Sexual Assault, Gender Stereotypes