‘Difficult Dialogues’ Symposium at Ithaca College Screens Film on College Sexual Assault

By David Maley, March 11, 2016

‘Difficult Dialogues’ Symposium at Ithaca College Screens Film on College Sexual Assault

ITHACA, NY—A powerful documentary that explores the issue of sexual assault on college campuses through the personal testimonials of five survivors will be screened at Ithaca College on Thursday, March 24. The 7 p.m. showing of “It Happened Here” in Park Hall Auditorium will be followed by a presentation by two of the women featured in the film.

Sponsored by the Peggy Ryan Williams Difficult Dialogues Symposium, the event is free and open to the public.

Through raw and intimate interviews, the students featured in the film describe surviving sexual assault only to be met with apathy, disbelief, blame and retaliation from the authorities when they tried to report the crime. “It Happened Here” exposes the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, the institutional cover-ups, and the failure to protect students and follows their fight for accountability and change on campus and in federal court.

Speaking following the screening will be Sarah O’Brien, a student-athlete at Vanderbilt University who was sexually assaulted by a football player who was a trusted friend; and Kylie Angell, a nursing student at the University of Connecticut who was sexually assaulted in her dorm room by a friend.

The Peggy Ryan Williams Difficult Dialogues Symposium explores complex and controversial subjects to engage audiences in civil and respectful dialogue. It is named in honor of President Emerita Peggy Ryan Williams, who has been an advocate for open discourse and a staunch defender of academic freedom and active, open inquiry.

The 2016 symposium has also included a three-part, student-only discussion series led by student facilitators about sexual assault and sexuality on campus. A showcase of IC artists inspired by the subject of campus rape and sexual assault is also being organized, with selected entries to be featured in April at public events on campus.

The symposium is presented by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs.