UNIVERSITIES AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: THE HUNTING GROUND

TW: rape, sexual assault, sex-shaming

by Asia Patel

On the 15th April 2015, the Union of UEA students held a free film screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on american college campuses. It was made by the same Academy Award-nominated team that created The Invisible War, a film about sexual assault in the United States Military. The documentary was followed by a skype call with the director, Kirby Dick, and a discussion with a panel consisting of Holly Staynor (Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer), Beth Smith (Women’s Officer), Anjali Menezes (Sexual Assault Awareness Committee), and me from the UEA Feminist Society Committee.

The documentary itself focused on the stories of survivors of sexual assault, particularly of Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark, two former students at the University of North Carolina who were raped on campus. In the US, reports such as those of sexual assault can be dealt with solely by the college itself, with people in place to decide relevant actions to be taken upon attackers, and to support survivors. However, when these two survivors reported their rapes, they were not supported by their university.

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THE MALE GAZE WON’T CURE EATING DISORDERS

by Robyn Banks

Eating disorders and low self-esteem in women and girls have been making headlines in both feminist discourse and the mainstream press for years, usually being linked in a variety of ways to the media, be it advertising or the homogenous representation of women. 1.6 million people in the UK suffer from some form of eating disorder, of which 89% are female, and anorexia nervosa has been reported in girls as young as six.

The issue has resurfaced again recently after Dr Aric Sigman, a professor in child psychology, has said that boys are an ‘untapped army’ who can prevent girls’ diet disorders by telling them how attractive they find ‘curvy’ women. At the same time, France unveiled a plan to ban models deemed too skinny from the catwalk. Both of these prevention measures are well meaning, but both are rooted in a profound misunderstanding of eating disorders that could do more harm than good.

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