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8 women share personal stories of rape in Fargo native's documentary

FARGO -- Ten years ago, Dena Wyum was raped at a party as an 18-year-old freshman at North Dakota State University.

"That was sort of my 'welcome to college,'" the Mayville woman says dryly.

Now a women and gender studies lecturer at NDSU, Wyum uses her experience to raise awareness.

"That's why I decided to do the film, because for me, that activism piece is healing," she said.

Wyum is one of eight women who share their personal stories of sexual assault in filmmaker and Fargo native Jennifer Baumgardner's documentary "It Was Rape."

"If I could help other people not have that feeling of 'this is only happening to me' that I had experienced, then it was worth it," Wyum said.

Baumgardner showed a 45-minute rough cut of the film at NDSU in April and plans to attend a screening of the final version Saturday morning at the Fargo Film Festival.

The 42-year-old activist, author and filmmaker has remained connected to the area since she moved to New York after college. Her parents and sister, who's featured in the film, still live here.

Fellow New Yorker 29-year-old Morea Steinhauer, who lived in Fargo-Moorhead for the majority of her 20s, worked on the film as Baumgardner's assistant producer.

Steinhauer, whose background is in photojournalism and social justice, said she's looking forward to sharing their work at the Fargo Film Festival.

"To be able to share that with friends and family, and friends that are family, in the Upper Midwest feels super important, and timely," she said. "I really hope the community receives it as a call to action."