DVD Review: The Hunting Ground

Well, these stats are terrifying..

It starts with teenagers who are taping their reactions to reading their acceptance letters for the first time. They're happy, there's tears, then all of that happiness is gone and we're meeting with victims of sexual assault who reported their incidences and had nothing happen. 

This film reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend when we were young (and stupid) teenagers. We wondered if you agree to sex, and then it gets weird and you want it to stop, is that rape? You said yes at first before it took a turn you didn't expect. That's the type of head space that makes people not report things right away, or not at all. That type of thinking makes you question yourself and plays into the "asking for it" complex that is so harmful. It's embarrassing to type this now, but I had to say it. I wish we could've had that conversation with someone who said "Yes, that's wrong and it's not your fault." But those are scary questions. 

The Hunting Ground throws out some terrifying stats on how some campuses are handling sexual assault reports. And by handling, I mean in some cases mostly ignoring. It's sad to hear the stories of these women (and one man) whose lives are forever changed. The film follows two survivors, Annie Clark and Andrea Pino as they travel cross country to meet other survivors and try to make a difference. Another story shared is that of Erica Kinsman, who immediately reported her rape, only for the police to completely botch everything, and her school to rally against her since her rapist was a huge football star. (who now plays for the NFL) It's disgusting.

The film is not without it's critics, of course. They didn't include interviews with the alleged rapists, which one one hand, I get the point, on the other, it would've turned the entire doc into one big "he said she said" argument. Slate actually wrote an entire article on how one story shared, that of Kamilah Willingham was investigated more than the documentary showed. Still, I'm fine with the way it was presented. 

The Hunting Ground packs a very powerful punch and is heartbreaking to watch. Rape culture is still very real. There's an interview in Erica Kinsman's segment with a young woman Erica's age who completely disregards her rape and essentially calls her a whore. That's not okay. The immediate dismissal because of a few high profile cases were someone was lying isn't okay, especially when more rapes reported are actual rapes and not fabricated stories. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Sigma Alpha Epsilon - sexual assault expected." - an alarming amount of people.


8 comments:

  1. Terrifying is right. This is scary. Chilling. Sickening. UGH...this world.

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  2. When I was college, I remember my school releasing it's statistics of sexual assaults, and it legitimately said ZERO. We all knew it was bullshit, but instead of saying something, everyone just kind of laughed it off.

    Sounds like how the authorities treat it, too.

    Oh, and somewhat off-topic, you should check out this video (NSFW) about consent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKn96LdbRl0

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    1. OMG that video is perfect. I don't remember my college even talking about sexual assaults or releasing any statistics. I'm sure most don't or say zero like yours did. It's gross.

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  3. This has been going on for decades and it is a crime. At my old University, after I had left, there was a prof. who got accused by one of his students. He was known to have repeatedly used his power to have the female students be sexually assaulted or have their grades harmed. This one girl stood firm. The head secretary for the Dept stood by her and pleaded on her behalf. It became very ugly because the secretary, highly regarded, got death threats and was fired for some trumped up charge. She finally had to leave the city because she received no help. The Prof was let go, with full pay and benefits and got a job in the States-It was disgusting but schools don't want their image tainted especially if it involves sports people or their profs. Simply disgusting

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    1. Wow. That is terrible, and sadly that probably happens way more than it should.

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  4. It's terrifying to watch, but it's an essential one I think. I still can't get over some of the statistics...it's shocking and disgusting.

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    1. It's really gross. I'm surprised Oscar didn't go for this one.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.