Through a new documentary, young women around the country are sharing their stories of sexual assaults that occurred on college campuses.?These brave women have transformed from scared victims to fearless activists.
In “The Hunting Ground,” which opened in theaters on Feb. 27, filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering investigate an?alarming pattern that has emerged in recent years. From small campuses such as Occidental College to the prestigious Columbia University and Notre Dame, academic institutions are facing a problem of how to handle sexual assaults that occur on campus.
As victims of sexual assault, many female students?have had similar experiences when attempting to report the incidents?to college officials. Campus?authorities would advise them to not contact the police and encourage them to not discuss the assault. Sadly, the women were often blamed for the assaults happening to them.
The group End Rape on Campus has been fighting to address the problems. It is spearheaded by two students from the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus. The students had their own allegations of sexual assault ignored by the college, they say. EROC says?77 American schools are currently undergoing a federal investigation for sexual assault complaints, according to TakePart.com.
At a 2013 news conference, attorney Gloria Allred told media of her aid to 37 students and faculty, some of whom were with her that day, in a federal complaint against Occidental College. The complaint accused the college of violating equal rights standards while handling claims of rape, sexual assault, and retaliation. The women were demanding to be taken seriously as victims of sexual assault. The Associated Press doesn’t normally name victims of sexual assault as a matter to preserve the privacy of the victims, who are one of a few minorities to be given anonymity by the AP. The young women from Occidental wanted to challenge that rule. They wanted to end the pattern of being unseen, unheard, and disrespected, and came forward publicly in hopes it would help improve the safety of the campus.
President Obama has helmed ?It’s On Us.? This is a national campaign designed to bring attention to the problems. California and other states have increased legislation to?provide more protections. Campuses have promised to handle the assaults better. “The Hunting Ground” documentary is the latest way to bring attention to the issues, and to attempt to correct the mistakes that?were made. See the documentary’s trailer below:
As a mother with a daughter looking at college in four years, I hope the college environment improves for women across the country. Young people go to college to receive an education and an experience of a lifetime. We pay the tuition with the assumption that our children will be safe and taken care of. The campuses are failing the female student body. We can hope that, by the bravery of these young women in sharing their stories, future students will have safer colleges to attend.