Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today hosted a screening of “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary highlighting the epidemic of sexual violence at colleges and universities nationwide, at the New York State Museum in Albany. The screening is part of the Governor’s end of session push to gain support for the passage of the Enough is Enough legislation, which protects all college students in New York State by establishing uniform and comprehensive policies to prevent sexual violence.
"This session, we have the power to pass legislation that will protect countless New York students from sexual violence on their college campuses – places that should be havens," Governor Cuomo said. "Our proposal empowers students to keep themselves safe, identify the resources on campus in case they're attacked, and hold perpetrators responsible for their actions. This film exposes campus sexual assault as a national problem and I am asking the Legislature to help make this state a national model and pass this bill."
With six days remaining in the legislative session, preventing sexual violence and supporting victims through Enough is Enough remains one of the Governor’s top priorities. Earlier today, Billboard Magazine published an op-ed co-authored by Lady Gaga and Governor Cuomo calling on the state legislature to pass the proposal. The Governor was joined at today's screening by the Lieutenant Governor, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and a Syracuse University student survivor, in addition to state leaders, advocates and community members.
"We must combat the epidemic of sexual assault on all college campuses, ýand that means passing the Governor's legislation to create a statewide standard," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Too often, survivors of this crime do not know where to turn or do not have the resources to know what is available to them, but through the Governor’s proposal we can ensure that every school lives up to their responsibilities to support students. I urge our partners in the legislature to join us in this fight, because together we can make a real difference for New York’s college students.”
The Governor first screened "The Hunting Ground" in New York City last week. The film, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, highlights several accounts of campus sexual assault, told through the perspective of the victims. The documentary details the struggles, the retaliation and the harassment these victims face due to the mishandling of sexual assault on their campuses and the devastating toll these crimes take on the victims and their families.
A TV-Quality trailer and selected excerpts from the film are available for download here.
Governor Cuomo’s on-campus sexual assault prevention and response policy includes the following components:
- A statewide definition of affirmative consent, defining consent as a clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity;
- A statewide amnesty policy, to ensure that students reporting incidents of sexual assault or other sexual violence are granted immunity for certain campus policy violations, such as drug and alcohol use;
- A Sexual Violence Victim/Survivor Bill of Rights, which campuses will be required to distribute to all students in order to specifically inform sexual violence victims of their legal rights and how they may access appropriate resources. The Bill of Rights clearly states that students are given the right to know they can report sexual assaults to outside law enforcement, including the State Police; and
- Comprehensive training requirements for administrators, staff, and students, including at new student orientations.
Governor Cuomo launched the Enough is Enough campaign in February, and it has since gained a wide range of support from a variety of public officials, organizations and community groups, including:
- 17 of 18 county executives statewide;
- Whoopi Goldberg, who also filmed a video for the campaign;
- More than 40 city mayors from across the state;
- More than 100 elected officials from across the state;
- Nearly 20 members of New York’s Congressional Delegation;
- More than 50 statewide and local organizations, in addition to 30 advocacy groups, community organizations and unions;
- 28 public safety officials from across the state;
- Student advocates from Barnard College and Syracuse, Columbia, Fordham and New York Universities;
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; and
- 11 private colleges and universities across the state.