It’s no surprise that now more than ever, rape and sexual assault victims are speaking out and bringing their cases to college officials. And it’s also no surprise that colleges are pulling out their entire arsenal in order to hide these rape allegations. Any accusation of that nature would make the college look bad, and it’s even worse for the college when the culprit is a star athlete who brings them millions of dollars.
That sentence was just appalling to write, so I can imagine how it was to read. That’s exactly what the film The Hunting Ground explores. It is a documentary written and directed by Kirby Dick that focuses on several rape victims from colleges all over the United States. Produced by Amy Ziering, it first premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on February 27, 2015. The documentary mostly followed Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark who were both raped while enrolled at the University of North Carolina. They teamed up to lead a Title IX campaign against the school, which was then taken up by other rape victims at other colleges.
The film was moving. Pino and Clark shared their heart wrenching stories. Despite speaking out, their college did not act. There were numerous cases where victims spoke out about their situations and their cases were handled in a grossly inappropriate manner. In one case at Harvard Law School, a woman was raped, brought her accuser to the administration, knew her rights and had the rapist removed through expulsion. However, the following semester, the dean emailed her saying that the man had appealed and would be attending the school once again. Another case involved Jameis Winston, a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who raped a girl and got away with it since he was the star football player for Florida State University at the time. He ended up leading the team to victory and earning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman (making him the youngest college player to do so).
The film really shines a light on all of the wrongs with the college system and how rape is handled on campuses. There are so many wrongs happening, that it begs the question: when will attitudes and perceptions about rape change? After seeing this documentary, you will start asking tough questions about rape and rape culture in America.
Watch the trailer here: