“My rape was bad, but the way I was treated in the process was worse.”
The Hunting Ground is a documentary that explores the world of sexual assault on college campuses, and the processes through which those cases are handled. BlogDH went to IFF’s screening with the intention of gathering student reactions at the end of the film. The night did not go as expected. What started as a montage of adorable college acceptance videos, quickly escalated to a platform for the interwoven narratives of college sexual assault victims across the nation. The overarching theme was to follow the first two women in this movement to file a Title IX case against their school, UNC Chapel Hill. The personal story arcs for so many of the victims made the story hit close to home, with one student who exited the theater saying “that could be me.”
As the documentary layered the various complexities that victims face on college campuses, at times going against inert administrations, athletic infrastructures, and the fraternity system, one would stop to catch a breath and think, “this must be the end of the movie,” only to be hit with another punch to gut. When the film let out, very few attendees wanted to speak with us. Some shook their heads, declined to comment, and one person said, “I have no words.” We gathered what afterthoughts we could, but we also would like to acknowledge that the film was very intense, and many people were unable to talk about it immediately afterwards. Another student said, “I don’t know if I have anything positive on the subject,” illustrating the moroseness that hung over the audience, despite occasional messages of hope.
In many of the featured cases, students filing sexual assault charges were downright ignored. When you did see change, it was often followed by a lack of institutional memory. Many have clamored for college administrations to inform their student body of potentially dangerous areas on campus in regards to sexual assault. Wesleyan did that just a few years ago, by sending out an email warning incoming freshman to stay away from a certain fraternity house, because they could not secure it as a safe environment. It was met with outrage from alumni, parents, and some students. The next year, they did not send out the email, and by Halloween a student was raped in the fraternity house. Despite the anticipated backlash, another student leaving Granoff still insisted that “Brown-specific sexual assault data should be reported to students, because the issue goes well beyond protecting image (of the University).” Continue Reading
In 2012, Rhode Island passed a law to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. This law is currently in effect as of April 1, 2013. This is not an April Fools joke, but rather an effort that Senator Joshua Miller, D-representing Cranston, and state Representative Jay Edwards, D–representing Tiverton and Portsmouth, have been working to pass for the past five years. A first-time offender who possesses one ounce or less of marijuana will now see a $150 civil fine, and no jail time. An individual who is charged with possession three times in 18 months, however, must pay the original $500 civil fine, and will most likely spend a year in jail.
The implications are huge. The law hopes to debunk the “forbidden fruit” nature of the drug, which is why many young adults may find it so appealing in the first place. Perhaps more importantly, a portion of the money collected from fines will now go towards drug treatment and education programs. Now that possession is no longer criminal, it is hoped that people can seek proper treatment rather than becoming lost in the criminal justice system. This will save the state a great deal of money down the road by relying more on prevention and less on incarceration.
Casual law-breaking on Thayer; photographed holding just-purchased illegal substances.
College students are used to breaking the law (we’re not going to go into specifics here, but we’re sure you get the idea). However, there are some laws that make you wonder what had to go so wrong to create the need for a law against it. I decided to live on the edge and test the limits of the Providence Police (ProPo, as opposed to BroPo) by breaking some ridiculous Rhode Island laws.
You may not sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday in Providence.
I can’t even imagine where this law came from. Maybe churchgoers love morning breath? Or eating toothpaste while massaging your face with a toothbrush is a secret Sunday hangover cure? Anyway, I went to CVS last Sunday to once again do some badass law-breaking. I carefully selected a tube of Crest toothpaste and an Oral-B toothbrush and brought them to the register; I wasn’t trying to sneak around the law by using an Express Check-Out station. To my surprise, the cashier sold me the toothpaste and toothbrush together on a Sunday! But he conspicuously did not give me a receipt, so I’m assuming this was part of an elaborate cover-up effort. Although I was able to get CVS to break this law, I’m sure it’s super serious, so don’t come running to me if someone gets arrested—you’ve been warned.
It is illegal to wear transparent clothing in Providence.
I’m guessing that this law resulted from some Hangover-inspired night gone wrong. I wanted to see how seriously this law is taken, so I walked down Thayer in a transparent top. Although I got some weird looks, possibly resulting from the fact that it was 30° and my shirt was completely see-through, no one tried to make a citizen’s arrest (unfortunately I couldn’t find any police to break the law in front of). So for all of you who are guilty of this every weekend, don’t worry: the BroPo has better things to bust you for. Note that Rhode Island has no specific statute against Indecent Exposure, so if you’re planning on wearing a transparent shirt, just do the legal thing and go topless instead. Continue Reading