The Hunting Ground Film Lets Victims Demand Justice

A very basal problem that I have with the information available in the world regarding sexual assault is that it leaves very little space for those who have been abused to move beyond the role of victimhood. What is it about our world that makes it so hard to take that strength back? “The Hunting Ground,” a film screened on campus last Thursday, presented the heartbreaking statistics behind sexual assault on campus in a way that was finally empowering. The film followed two women as they not only healed from their own abuses, but found the ambition to reach out to other victims, and stand up to various universities and beyond. These women aren’t defined by victimhood—they are damn heros.

The film doesn’t skimp on accountability, either. It names specific universities and their assault statistics. It isn’t one of those stories of assault that somehow manages to protect the attacker. It calls out Jameis Winston, Heisman Trophy winner and popular football star for being a rapist. It runs down the list of university after university and how they’ve responded to accounts of sexual assault. The answers are so heartstopping that they make you nauseous, but the film certainly doesn’t sugarcoat anything. To be honest, I didn’t want them to—you can’t demand justice if you don’t know the crime.

Too often, we let ourselves be told by the world that sexual assault victims are just victims—that justice is not theirs to ask for. And that’s why this movie is great—it lets them demand it.

—Lena Beck, News Editor