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Junior uses documentary to spread awareness on sexual assault

Prince Dudley | Staff Photographer

Jade Lewis transferred to Syracuse from Onondaga Community College and now she is a television, radio and film major.

It took four months of production, two months of filming and a week and a half of editing, but for Jade Lewis, the stress was all worth it in the end. “Tell Your Truth,” her 2015 documentary, available on YouTube, tells the story of sexual assault.

The Silver Creek, New York, native transferred from Onondaga Community College this semester and is now a junior television, radio and film major. She wants to pursue a career making, writing and directing movies. Making “Tell Your Truth” solidified her passion for storytelling. She wants to use the fundamentals she learned while making it and apply those skills during her time at Syracuse University.

Lewis created “Tell Your Truth” to educate the OCC community about the seriousness of sexual assault. The film’s crew wanted to emphasize that sexual assault incidents are not just the subject of a “Dateline” or “60 Minutes” episode, but real happenings in people’s lives. The film’s title is a reflection of that belief.

“It’s not just being raped, it’s being groped, catcalled on the streets and a lot of people didn’t know this. This is something that happens to your sisters, your friends, brothers; its people you know and see every day,” Lewis said.

Lewis reached out to faculty members — such as the title IX coordinator — and others on campus who may have something to do with handling cases like sexual assault. She recruited five survivors of rape and sexual assault who shared their stories on film. She said speaking to them was very difficult but rewarding and eye-opening.

“It was incredible to see someone who had been through so much and endured so much to get to the other side and feel liberated from the experience,” she said.

On top of classes and other obligations, Lewis spent four months working on the project. She spent a week and a half holed up in an editing studio, and eventually finished the film into a cut she said she is proud of. At the film’s viewing party, students and professors came out to support it.

“I can’t stay quiet about this kind of stuff anymore,” Lewis said. “I now know there’s so many people that are directly affected by things like this.”

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