The Sociology club and Political Sciences Student Association hosted a film screening of the documentary, “The Line,” on Monday Oct. 13. The documentary was followed by an open forum discussion on the newly passed California Bill SB 967 for affirmative sexual consent in the 1400 building.
“I came across the film in a brochure,” said Angie Andrus, Sociology club advisor. “With the new Yes Means Yes law, it was great timing to discuss the issue of sexual consent.”
Andrus explained that the event’s large turnout was a result of an in-class promotion and an update in the President’s Weekly.
The documentary follows filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman, a Pennsylvania native, as she struggles with exactly what happened, one night in Jerusalem.
After a failed courtship with another man, she goes home with a co-worker and things take a turn for the worse. Feeling weak and vulnerable, she returns home to figure out what happened.
Attorneys she interviewed find her situation would be a hard one to prosecute. She had flirted, gone home with a guy, engaged in sex but didn’t consent to when he forcefully sodomized her. A line, her line, was crossed. Unlike her friend Netanya, who was sexually assaulted by a stranger and was able to get the satisfaction of seeing her assailant sent to prison.
Later she returns to Jerusalem and confronts the man she had feared. He tells a different story. He insists that he isn’t a bad person and what they did was with the intent of love and in the heat of passion. She tells him how she felt, expecting an apology that never came.
She feels stronger after confronting the man and has learned to be more selective in choosing a partner.
Throughout the film, images flutter in and out and the story of that night is repeated seeming to mimic Schwartzman’s confusion. However, overall the message is clear: victims carry the burden of proof. Even if things start out consensual, clear boundaries need to be set so that both partners are aware of each other’s line.
This was driven home by the number of outside consultants such as Don McPherson, a former NFL player, social activist and a prostitute from The Bunny Ranch in Nevada. The film was only 22 minutes in length, but it was enough to start a dialogue about consent, which was the filmmaker’s intention.
After the screening, attendees were given a crash course on laws that govern how colleges are to respond when receiving information about a crime. This includes the new SB 967 Yes Means Yes law by PSSA advisor Jodi Balma and Health Services Director Dr. Vanessa Miller.
Andrus estimated around 175 students attended.
Dr. Miller also provided information on what the Health Services office can provide to students who want to report an incident. Currently, campus directors are working with the North Orange County Community College District office on obtaining agreements with community partners. This would help to ensure that students that are referred to off campus services receive the care that they need.
After the presentation, Balma opened the floor for questions. The consensus was that students need to take responsibility for the choices made with their bodies. Communication with your partner is essential and educating others about affirmative consent is key.