RAINN's Jessica Leslie Talks Promising Young Woman and Sexual Assault on Campuses

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Glenn Garner
·3 min read
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Merie Weismiller Wallace / Focus Features

Promising Young Woman has made waves this awards season, recently winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Jessica Leslie, program director of the National Sexual Assault Hotline at RAINN, discusses the film's impact on the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast with Janine Rubenstein. "It's really important, because sexual assault on universities and colleges is something that happens quite often and often goes unreported," she says of the film's impact on those populations.

"There are cultures within sports teams ... that try to make it okay for sexual violence to occur," Leslie adds. "So it's really trying to get that target population that can be really influential, but also can be really influenced in addressing this issue in their college and university communities."

RELATED: Promising Young Woman Virtual Screenings Offered to College Students for Free — How to Watch

RAINN teamed up with Focus Features and Campus Circle earlier this month to offer college students a free screening of the movie, about a woman (Carey Mulligan) plotting to exact justice for a friend who was sexually assaulted in college.

Amy Graves/Getty Jessica Leslie

The screening was meant "to continue the conversation against sexual assault and violence on college campuses." Mulligan participated in a chat after the screening with writer/director Emerald Fennell, moderated by Laverne Cox, who also stars in the film.

Leslie notes that every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, adding, "Only five out of every 1000 predators will end up in prison." Meanwhile, 13% of college students experience rape or sexual assault, and only 20% of female student victims report their assault to law enforcement, according to RAINN.

"College students are in a really important place in their life where they can make a lot of change and really influence a lot of folks and myself included," she says, revealing that she got into advocacy when she was in college. "And, so I think it's really important for that reason."

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Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Fridayand listen to Leslie's episode, below!

Fennell took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay on Sunday, and she was also nominated for Best Director. The film received a few other nods, including Best Actress for Mulligan and Best Picture.

Mulligan opened up about starring in the film to PEOPLE in December, noting that she had her children in mind. "I want them to see this film or something like it," she said of daughter Evelyn Grace, 5, and son Wilfred, 3, whom she shares with husband Marcus Mumford, 34.

RELATED VIDEO: Carey Mulligan on Why 'Promising Young Woman' Struck a Nerve: "There's So Much to Unpack"

"Ideally they won't grow up with the same kind of influences that we did that normalizes this kind of behavior," she added. "I think the world has moved on, to a degree, or is in the process of moving on."

Check out more from Leslie's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.