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Film Festival Inspires Conversation About Sexual Assault On Campus And Off

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The “One in Five Film Festival” gets underway today in Billing, and it’s designed to encourage discussion and raise awareness about sexual assault.

Organizers say they’ve chosen a couple of documentaries the festival has featured before - they’re well-made and thought provoking.

But while the films aren’t exactly new, the perspective of audience members might be.

MSU-Billings professor and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Center, Jen Lynn, says there’s a lot of public attention on sexual assault these days in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

“The conversation surrounding Kavanagh’s hearing and the testimony of Dr. Ford really revealed the extent to which there is a lot of work to be done on perceptions of survival, understanding memory, understanding trauma… even the vocabulary used to talk about sexual assault isn’t always accurate in the public sphere.”

Lynn says film festival organizers are trying to change the culture surrounding sexual assault. She says prevention, educating men to respect women and consent, is key.    

The documentaries this year address how masculinity affects boys, campus rape culture, and how authorities handle sexual harassment allegations and rape cases.

The festival offers three films through October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tonight, the Art House Cinema and Pub will play the “The Hunting Ground” at the Billings venue.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.