“The Hunting Ground,” a campus epidemic

For many of us, college is an exciting milestone of our lives. We usually see college as our first step into adulthood, a sort of prelude for what is to come in our lives. Well worth the excitement when one is inundated with multiple opportunities, friends of multiple varieties and the privilege of higher education.

However, an epidemic plagues our campuses: rape culture.

Sexual assault goes widely under reported and the few reports in existence are largely ignored, even at institutions with utmost prestige. The idea of pursuing higher education is ruined for many whom are victims of rape and rape culture, explained and examined with much detail in “The Hunting Ground.”

The documentary started with the epitome of joy that is college acceptance, depicting several shocked and hysterical faces, the cathartic moment that is getting into a choice school. Then it cuts right to it.  Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, who are featured throughout the film, are the first to tell their harrowing stories.  In just the first five minuteFeatured images of the film, at least twenty survivors of sexual assault had identified themselves.

The two women are followed throughout the film as they utilize Title IX to expose the suppression of rape victims and their cases. These women reached out to victims across the United States, and pinpointed universities where the survivors in contact were enrolled. It became clear that several of the top colleges had the most rape cases reported and a corresponding amount of cases that are dropped or settled for less extreme convictions.

“The Hunting Ground” stressed that rape is not exclusive to less ranking schools and focused on several cases at Ivy League schools.The film even features Kamilah, a Harvard Law student, who’s assailant was actually allowed back on campus after his flawed expulsion.

The film divides the gestalt of rape culture into two parts: from the survivors’ point of view and then from clear extensive research of the institutions that allow it to go unnoticed. This documentary delves into the silencing and the threats these victims face, especially in the incidence that the people who commit these heinous acts are athletes and/or part of a well-established group on campus – most notably, fraternities. Much of the film focuses on how many of these allegations are swept under the rug due to the ridiculous business revenue that is poured into these universities by athletic associations and fraternities.

Often, rape is a crime in which everyone says, “that doesn’t happen here,” but it does.

On Aug. 27, a victim was assaulted in a Hocking College dorm. Five assailants were identified by the survivor.  Hocking is also coming under fire for signing Trent Mays, convicted rapist in the Steubenville rape case.

According to The Post, the Ohio University Police Department received its sixth report of a sex-related crime in Athens since the beginning of fall semester. The OUPD received the report on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 19.

I highly recommend this film, especially in classrooms and informational groups, for this is an issue that needs to be much more widely discussed.The Athens Cinema will continue screening the documentary for free today and tomorrow, Sept. 23 and 24, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on both days.

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