CITY students have scooped an award for a film highlighting the issues of rape and sexual consent.
Within Reach, a powerful five-minute film, centres around a group of friends on a night out, in which one of the girls gets so drunk she is barely conscious, and her male friend takes her home and rapes her.
It was one of four short films produced by final year students at the University of Sunderland who were invited to create a video which would raise awareness on issues surrounding consent and sexual assault, when ‘no means no’, in line with current Government initiatives.
The project came about after discussions between the university’s health and wellbeing team, Northumbria Police and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
Final year drama students produced their own interpretation of the brief in collaboration with first year media production students.
Although the judging panel found that all four dramas were of high standard, black and white film Within Reach reflected a clear message of consent.
Producer Glenn Harris said: “It was a great privilege to be selected for this award, everyone did so well, and we all took on the challenge and got stuck into it, I’m really proud of what we produced.”
The winning film will now be produced as a DVD and distributed to Sunderland students, during events such as Freshers’ Week, it will also be used by the SARC team and could possibly be distributed to other educational establishments across the UK.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, said: “It is crucial for people to understand that sex without consent is rape, so I am pleased to see the issue being addressed in these films.”
SARC manager Michelle Sheridan said the largest age group the team see at the SARC - which has premises in Sunderland and Newcastle - are between 16 and 25.
She explained: “The aim of this initiative is to educate around rape and sexual consent. People still think of rape as a crime committed by a stranger, but that is very rare. It is much more likely to happen between people who know each other, either in a domestic situation or between people who’ve met socialising.”
To watch Within Reach, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DntbDYmMqQw&feature=youtu.be.