HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Commission for Women today joined the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education to host a screening of the documentary The Hunting Ground, followed by a panel discussion focused on sexual assault on college campuses. The event, which took place at the Governor's Residence, was held in conjunction with the It's On Us campaign's 2015 National Week of Action.
"Pennsylvania is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country, and we must ensure that our students are not only being academically enriched but also cared for and protected emotionally and physically as well," said Governor Tom Wolf. "It is a priority for my administration to ensure that sexual assault on our campuses is not tolerated and that our schools are promoting the best possible academic and social environment for our students. Today's event was an important step toward that goal and we will continue this discussion with key stakeholders throughout the commonwealth to ensure that this issue is being addressed and that our students' safety is protected."
The panel discussion was moderated by PA Commission for Women Chair Randi Teplitz and included Governor Wolf's Deputy Secretary for Policy & Planning Sarah Galbally, the State System of Higher Education's Assistant Vice Chancellor and Title IX Coordinator Dr. Victoria Sanders, PCAR's Chief Public Affairs Officer Kristen Houser, Women's Law Project Executive Director Carol Tracy and student activist featured in the film and co-founder of End Rape on Campus Sofie Karasek.
More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, according to a study conducted by the National Institute of Justice. In Pennsylvania, there were 136 reported assaults on college campus between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. This statistic does not include assaults that took place off campus grounds or assaults that were not reported.
"Sexual assault continues to be a very serious problem on campuses throughout the country, including right here in Pennsylvania – and addressing it is a priority for Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women," said Randi Teplitz. "We are excited to bring together a diverse group of local and national experts on this issue today to begin a very important discussion for Pennsylvania that we hope will continue in the weeks and months to come."
"Influential documentaries like The Hunting Ground are helping to bring to light the widespread issues of sexual assault on campuses in Pennsylvania and across the nation," PCAR CEO Delilah Rumburg said. "We're at a turning point where the stigma of sexual assault—and the silence that often accompanies – is beginning to be removed. More victims are coming forward and more bystanders are stepping in to prevent abuse before it happens. This documentary sends a strong message that it takes all of us, working together in big and small ways, to prevent sexual violence."
"Through proactive engagements such as this, both on-campus and off, our 14 State System universities continue to be models for what a safe and supportive learning environment should be," said State System Assistant Vice Chancellor and Title IX Coordinator Dr. Victoria Sanders. "We are proud to be part of helping lead this important dialogue in Pennsylvania."
ABOUT THE HUNTING GROUND
The Hunting Ground debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and is being released by RADiUS and CNN Films. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at sexual assault on U.S. college campuses and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. For more about the film and a list of screening locations, go to www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com.
ABOUT IT'S ON US
It's On Us is a public awareness and education campaign which was launched by the White House in September 2014 to focus attention on the issue of campus sexual assault. The campaign seeks to engage college students and communities in preventing sexual assault. It was launched in partnership with the Center for American Progress' Generation Progress, along with student body leadership from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Mead - 717.783.1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor