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Survivors promote ‘Hunting Ground’ film

Hunting Ground
Hunting Ground

A lot has happened since Andrea Pino and Annie Clark were last in Chapel Hill.

For the first time since their film “The Hunting Ground” was released, Pino and Clark — both UNC graduates who filed a federal complaint against the University for the handling of their sexual assault cases — screened their film on campus sexual violence in Chapel Hill.

“It’s really emotional to be back,” Pino said. “This is the first school we’ve been to that’s featured in the film — and this place means a lot to us.”

Pino and Clark spoke to the audience after the Chelsea Theater screening Wednesday night about the film and their campus violence coalition, End Rape on Campus. They also spoke about on- and off- campus resources for sexual assault survivors.

“People are caught between two systems that don’t work and that are essentially broken,” Pino said. “The justice system isn’t working, and the university systems aren’t working.”

One of the film’s major story arcs was a case that involved a student-athlete at Florida State University, and audience were curious about what Pino and Clark had found in their research outside the case highlighted in the film.

“It’s shown that in these cases where athletes were concerned, 25 percent of schools that we surveyed were having the athletic department handle them,” Clark said. “In these cases it looked like a ‘you’re going to do some extra laps after practice’ sort of situation.”

Nancy Register, a former UNC nurse practitioner, started a program with a coworker in 1997 that brought rape resources for students, including rape kits and 24-hour service, to UNC’s campus health building. The program went on for about two years, but when Register left her position, the resources returned exclusively to UNC’s hospital.

“I’d get calls at all hours of the night about it, and I had students with varying degrees of experiences,” Register said. “We’d take care of them and do what we can, but it’s hard to help when it’s so difficult to report it.”

Pino and Clark also spoke about their work with Title IX coordinators around the country, and they said they believe discussions about sexual violence needs to start much earlier than college.

“If you’re hearing about this for the first time at college orientation, it’s already too late,” Clark said. “This should start with age-appropriate conversations at the elementary school level and work its way through middle and high school.”

“It’s really important for us to think outside the box and outside just Title IX because these are our kids being assaulted,” Pino said.

The final question during the panel came from a mother, who asked Pino and Clark what she should tell her daughter when she called her that night.

“Tell her you’d support her and tell her to know her rights,” Clark said. “And don’t just call your daughters — call your sons.”

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