When we are younger one of the first things that we learn as a child is to “keep your hands to yourself”, why is it that now we are older those rules don’t apply to our genitalia? The Oscar nominated movie, “The Hunting Ground” was played yesterday for JMU students at Grafton. The movie itself is about a journey that two women take in order change the way that their school, USC, looks at its sexual assault claims on campus.
Rape, consent, sexual abuse, are all preventable actions. This movie was preventable. Everything that was done to these men and women could have been 100% preventable, why did it happen? Why are we such cruel animals that we shame others for something preventable, something that they did not choose. Not one of the victims in the film choose to be raped. But it is the victims who must live with choice someone else made. That makes me sick.
What happens when these people try and get help you ask? Well, since we are a society driven mostly by money, name, and power, nothing gets done. Money is power, just as much as a name and people are power. Rapists, have power. The power which they hold over the victim(s) does not end at the rape, but it follows them everyday for the rest of their lives. Who do we blame? The heinous people committing these crimes? Apparently not!
Victim blaming is real, and this film made it abundantly clear. In order to protect the rapist, colleges around the country are blaming the victim for the assault. Why are these schools doing this? They hide rape cases because they are protecting their investment, their brand name. No one wants to send their child to a school that has high sexual assault. So, instead of helping students and making a safe environment for higher education (Title IX), colleges are blaming these victimized students by asking questions such as “were you drinking?”, “what were you wearing?” and “why didn’t you put up a fight?” Ummm. . . excuse me? So let me get this right. A criminal, who stole a piece of me, will never see trial because you want to protect your brand? And, with overwhelming statistics, we all know that they are more likely to do this to other students. So they are allowed to walk the same grounds hunting for more innocent students? So this is what I pay for? So this is the environment that I need to learn to live with because the administration protects the name of the school over the student?
I am so sick of having this conversation. I am sick and tired of the lies, the cover ups, the fact that it took this long to say something about assault is disgusting. My mother asked me if I ever felt unsafe while alone in office hours with a male professor. When I said “No? why would I?” and she started crying, so happy that I found a school where the male faculty did not make sexual advances; like hers did. Rape is not a new word just like sexual assault is not a new term. They have been around for decades going unnoticed and covered up by the schools administration. Why did it take till 2015 for people to have a say in who penetrates their bodies? Are you kidding?!
Sexual assault is not being taken seriously and it is damn time we do something about it. Honestly, I think that the only way to solve this problem is strength in numbers. No more silencing, no more standing and watching it happen and saying “its none of my business”. No more victim blaming, no more asking “what were you wearing”. No more protection of the predators because we are too scared to do something about it. Do something. The best place to start is right here, right now. So speak up, before your school speaks for you.
If you have not seen the film please check out this link to the films website, The Hunting Ground.