Disgusted, saddened, frightened, shocked, dismayed, compelled to take action…these are only some of the words that come to mind when I recall how I felt after watching the documentary, “The Hunting Ground.”
A film by producer Amy Ziering, who made last year’s “The Invisible War,” this film cuts to the core as it exposes the rampant, frightening and much too often ignored issue of college campus rape. This pervasive violence is damaging our colleges while simultaneously destroying the lives of gifted, strong and smart young women and men. Yes, the issue of rape does not affect only women, but men as well.
Amy Ziering began her career as a director, while a PhD student of Comparative Literature at Yale. Her first film, “Derrida,” followed the life and doctrines of modern day philosopher, Jacques Derrida. The film’s cult like following was a huge success in both Paris and London.
Fast forward to 2012 and the documentary, “The Invisible War,” which broke the story of the epidemic of rape in our US military. It wasn’t until the film was screened on college campuses, that Ms. Ziering’s inbox overflowed with emails from college age women who told her that they, too, were victims of rape right on their college campuses. Ziering is the mother of three girls, two of which were college age at the time of the making of this film.
“I felt we could not not make this film -, there were too many pleas for help.”
She and award winning director, Kirby Dick, (The Invisible War), set out on this journey together and the final product is this incredible and magnificent film.
I do not want to tell you every detail of the film. Suffice to say that there are compelling interviews, stories and many, many tears of pain and frustration. One of the most devastating aspects of these rapes, is the fact that the “big business” of college often sweeps the rape under the carpet, especially if it will affect the sports programs as well as the fan and fraternity alumni base. The colleges sited, and there are plenty, are all big name Universities that most of us have either attended or are sending our children to.
I promise you that you will leave the theater armed with information you did not know, and will feel compelled to spread the word as I am doing with this article. The film is not in wide release, and will only be in theaters for another week. I urge you to see this film, regardless of whether or not you have a child in college. If you are a citizen of the world, it is your responsibility to both see and retell these young people's stories.
As many of my readers know, I have two children. My son is a senior at USC, and my daughter, is a senior at Milken Community High School. I have a vested interest and will make sure that they both see this film. All too often, these young women are told by the college deans that they “brought this on themselves,” or that they “should not discuss the incident with anyone.” By seeing this film and spreading their story, we are giving these young people a voice. It is time for this to stop. Go see “The Hunting Ground”!