The Hunting Ground: The Epidemic of Rape on College Campuses
The Hunting Ground was released late last year and has been one of the most powerful films made last year. It covers the stories of several young women through out the U.S. who all had one thing in common. That being that they had all been sexually assaulted on a college campus. These brave young women had been violently assaulted and brutally rapped. They chose to revisit these horrifying events that had happened to them for one purpose: to educate the world about the problem of rape on campuses and the little action that has been done by the university faculty and staff to have those guilty of committing rape face the consequences.
According to RAINN.org only 32% of rapes are reported to the police. These girls refused to keep quiet and reported their assaults to the Universities only to be shut down and victim shamed for the conditions they were in when they were attacked. A rape is never the victim’s fault no matter what the circumstances are. When someone refuses or is not under the conditions to consent to sex the answer is no. The phrase “no means yes” which has been gaining popularity by students on college campuses to use as an excuse to commit rape. There is also the “she was asking for it” statement that refers to the victim’s clothing, behavior, or location. Today, we are still victim shaming these women who have been through the unthinkable. The universities who are in part responsible for making sure the victims receive justice are allowing these serious crimes to be swept under the rug to protect their own reputation. Many times the innocent victims are forced to drop out or transfer campuses to avoid perpetrators.
Going to a university is supposed to be one of the best times in a young person’s life, this is the time when they find their place in the world and become their own person. They are supposed to be able to do this feeling like they are in a safe environment and that their safety is a top priority for the university ahead of their own reputation. The young victims in the film very courageously took a stand against this to prevent other young women from going through what they went through. We as a society need to stop blaming the victim for what was done to her that she had no control over and start blaming the perpetrator that did have the control and chose to take advantage of these innocent young women. The problem of rape and sexual assault can happen to anywhere and by anyone even people you know and trust. Even in pop culture we are hearing about celebrities like Kesha and Lady Gaga who have been victims of these assaults.
For you young women who are in or soon will be entering a college or university, adhere to the following precautions for safety on campus:
1. Travel in Groups: avoid wandering around campus alone, especially at night.
2. Limit alcohol consumption: always have a sober person with you and limit yourself to a certain number of drinks and never leave your drink unsupervised.
3. Do not go off with strangers: a person who may seem nice and have nothing but good intensions could be the complete opposite. Your safety is always first.
For these young women in the film a night that was supposed to be fun and made memorable turned into a horrifying attack that they wish they could forget.
Author: Nicole Perez, Psychology Intern University of Central Florida
Nicole is a psychology student at the University of Central Florida. She has always had a passion for psychology and helping people overcome the challenges in their lives. She especially has a passion for working with children and families. She plans on continuing on to receive her PhD in clinical psychology specializing in children and their development.