A Note on “The Hunting Grounds”

BY Suhiedy Reyes
For the UAS Whalesong

I had seen that this film was on Netflix, I even added it to my watch list but never came around to it. So when I saw that our school was showing this film, I knew that I had to see it.

I walked into the Egan lecture hall, lights already dimmed and ready for viewing, I saw that a good amount of people were already there and was excited for what was about to be shown to them. I knew this movie would be a hard topic to watch but in the end I also knew it was worth it.

The film itself was great! I will not go in much detail about it because I believe that everyone should watch this film and I do not want to spoil anything for you. Two girls from a pretty well known university teamed up together and started a protest that swept from University to University on how Universities do not report or act poorly on Title IX issues (Sexual assault, discrimination based on gender, domestic violence on campus, etc.) It was so empowering to watch how so many people got together to rally and protest their schools on this topic.

But at the same time it was so heartbreaking that it even had to come to that. I was watching this film with both a happy lens and a sad one. The film showed the stats of schools reporting sexual assault, most of them at least reporting 100 or less. It also showed from those reports how many perpetrators got expelled or even in trouble. Most of them got expelled for maybe a semester! A whole semester! Wow! After seeing that I cried.

The film also goes into how one woman killed herself because of her sexual assault.  Right then and there I felt it, I felt that pain, I felt the room being so silent and everyone taking in what was happening. That someone had taken their life because they were raped and their school was not going to do anything about it.

How sad is it to think that you are going to a school where you think you feel safe and that everyone is rooting for you! Then something like this happens and University is trying to save their institution instead of the student. I cried some more. I cried thinking that I hope no one ever has to go through this here at UAS. I cried and held on to the person next to me, knowing that this happens to women and men all over our country and hardly anything is really done.

After the film, we held some discussions in classrooms, to let people talk about what they had just seen and to get it all out. It was hard as a student leader to let them express themselves, when all I wanted to do was rage about what I had seen and pull out my hair. But I had been here for so long, and I wanted to let them express themselves, Freshman here in college who like many in the film are so excited to be here and want to have fun. I was so delighted hearing their ideas and comments about the film and how we can make campus safer.

I believe one idea everyone had in common was that this film or something like this should be shown every year for those at UAS. Making it mandatory that we all know about this topic. I would say I agree, with such a real topic such as this, one that happens everywhere in all different colleges, we should know what are resources are, where to go to, and let it be known that we will not stand for it.

I am so grateful that UAS has made a position exclusively for Title IX and that more awareness is coming to our campus. If you did not get a change to watch the film at the event, I highly recommend you watch it on Netflix.

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