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The Hunting Ground: A Documentary

The Hunting GroundWhat is The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground is a documentary that is receiving a lot of attention recently and its putting a lot of pressure on colleges and universities around the country.  The Hunting Ground is an expose that tackles the disturbing epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses and school officials’ efforts to cover up the crimes.  This is a startling exposé of rape crimes on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. The film weaves together candidly real footage and first-person testimonies  It follows survivors as they pursue their education while fighting for justice – despite harsh retaliation, harassment and pushback at every level.

The full version is available to watch on Netflix.

This is the trailer for The Hunting Ground.

There is an official Hunting Ground website. It has been winning all sorts of awards and The New York Times called The Hunting Ground, “An unblinking look at sexual assaults on campus.”  And Newsweek claims that it is “Terrifyingly true.”  To keep up to date on the latest happenings with The Hunting Ground, you can follow them on Twitter @thehuntinground.

The Hunting Ground: A Recap

I and SMAA take violence against women very seriously and as soon as I heard about this documentary I needed to watch it.  It is about an hour and 48 minutes long, but it is packed full of information. Here are some of the highlights and statistics shared in the video.

“More than 16% of college women are sexually assaulted while in college” (8 minutes)

“88% of women sexually assaulted on campus do not report” (12 minutes)

There is tremendous pressure from the campus administrators to suppress and silence the problem.

False reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses is lower than it is made out to be. Only 2-8% of claims are false. This means that about 95% of the reports made are true. (18 minutes)

The video shares some scary statistics from major universities on the number of reported sexual assault cases and the corresponding number of expulsions. (19 minutes)

UNC Sexual Assault NumbersFor instance, the video reports that from 2001 – 2013 on the University of North Carolina campus 136 cases of sexual assault were reported. This means that there are 88% more cases that happened, but went unreported.  That’s nearly 1,000 unreported cases of sexual assault on the UNC campus over the course of 12 years or 95 cases of sexual assault are happening every year, but very few are reported.  Watching the video I can understand the victim’s reluctance to speak out. Because according to the video, with the 136 reported cases, how many resulted in the perpetrator being expelled from campus?  None, zero, zilch, nada.

“Less than 8% of men in college commit more than 90% of sexual assaults” Davis Lisak, PhD. & Paul M. Miller (2002)  (26 minutes)

The universities know who these men are and it represents such a small proportion of students, yet the video points out that the administration’s top priority is to protect the reputation of the school, not the students being assaulted.

Go To the Police

So, if the universities are doing little to prosecute the perpetrators, why don’t the victims go to the police?  According to 2010 FBI Uniform Crime Report only 26% of the reported rapes to the police actually lead to an arrest and only 20% of those reported are prosecuted. (28 minutes)

So, of the 136 reported sexual assault cases on the UNC campus, only 35 of them would result in an arrest and just 7 would be prosecuted.  At least this is better than some of the punishments that the colleges and universities have given out over the years for those who have been found guilty of sexual assault, which have been a $25 fine, write a reflection paper, 50 hours of community service at a rape crisis center, suspended over summer break, expelled for 1 day, or expelled upon graduation. (36 minutes)

Jon Stewart even showed his reaction to the lenient punishment of students on The Daily Show and the clip went viral on social media.

Besides the universities and colleges not wanting to deal with this issue, those that do come forward many times face additional consequences in the form of bullying and threats from other students.  Many of the victims have said that while the sexual assault act itself was bad, how they are treated after is worse. (54 minutes)

Sexual Assault and Fraternities

The video briefly touches (5 minutes worth) on fraternities. According to the 2010 Willis North American Insurance company, 15% of claims against fraternities is sexual assault related, this is the second most common type of claim. (1:00). Universities and Fraternal Organizations represent a significant economic relationship.  “In 2012, nearly 60% of donations of more than $100 million dollars made to universities came from fraternity alumni” – The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2014)  (1:05)

Sexual Assault and College Athletes

The remainder of the video touches on the issue of sexual assault and college athletes. “Less than 4% of college men are student athletes. They commit 19% or more of reported college sexual assaults” (1:11)  College athletics is a billion dollar industry.  If universities are reluctant to stand up to fraternities, they are really not going to go against a star athlete.

Looking Forward

There is something that students can do.  There is Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. More on this later. And there is the See Act Stop Organization.

This is a powerful documentary that is trying to shed light on a disturbing trend that occurs on our college campuses.

“More than 100 colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault complaints” (1:37)

“If nothing changes, more than 100,000 college students will be sexually assaulted in the upcoming year” (1:40)



Jeanne started her martial arts training later in life and has been training at SMAA for over 10 years. She likes all aspects of the martial arts from the physical challenges to the spiritual pursuits of martial etiquette and virtue. She has a master degree in marketing and is currently working on her MBA.

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