The Experiences of Assault

Jimena Guzman in screenshot from Grace Whitmore’s video.

Through videos, students want to start a frank conversation.

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, two student videos are now available for viewing. One, directed by Ruby Patterson, tells the stories of various local survivors of sexual assault with harrowing accounts told by Hood River Valley High School student actors.

A second video, directed by Grace Whitmore, brings together the voices of students at HRV as part of the It’s on Us campaign.

The sexual assault survivor video is not easy to watch, containing the graphic stories of women who have survived sexual violence. But it comes with a motivational side, when many of the survivors explain how they were eventually able to overcome their situations.

The HRV students chosen to play the roles of the survivors did so with skill and feeling, effectively giving viewers a look into experiences of assault that the community should work to prevent. A first step in bringing people together for this cause was the It’s on Us campaign video created by Grace Whitmore.

The short video includes students from many social, ethnic, and gender groups across the high school. Each student read a short phrase such as “To be more than a bystander” or “To never blame the victim.”

Together, the phrases create a collective voice of HRV students agreeing to do what they can to prevent sexual assault. The video is available for viewing on the Hood River It’s on Us Facebook page.

Both videos were made to start conversation about this sensitive issue and encourage students and adults alike to communicate more about definitions of consent, ways to intervene as a bystander, and how to help victims of sexual assault.

More information about these topics is available on the Hood River It’s on Us Facebook page and the national It’s on Us website.

The student directors are both members of Helping Hands Against Violence Youth Advocates and have been involved in this cause since spring 2016. Their hope is to increase discussion surrounding sexual assault through awareness and in turn, prevent future sexual assault events among teens.

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