AAUW and JCC Host “The Hunting Ground”

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The Jamestown Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Jamestown Community College will host a screening of “The Hunting Ground” on Tuesday, November 15th, at 7 pm on the JCC campus in the Student Union of the Hamilton Collegiate Center. The screening is a collaboration with the AAUW/JCC Women’s Issues Committee. The event is open to the public. Afterward if attendees wish to stay, the viewers of the film will break into groups to consider issues and questions that the film raises.

“The Hunting Ground” presents multiple students who allege they were sexually assaulted at their college campuses, and that college administrators either ignored them or required them to navigate a complex academic bureaucracy to have their claims addressed. The film finds that many college officials were more concerned with minimizing rape statistics for their universities than with the welfare of the students and contains interviews with college administrators who state they were pressured into suppressing rape cases. The film chiefly criticized actions (or lack thereof) by university administrations, including Harvard, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Amherst College, and Notre Dame, but it also examines fraternities such as Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

The narrative features Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, students at the University of North Carolina, who became campus anti-rape activists after being assaulted. In response to what they saw as an inadequate response from the university, they filed a Title IX complaint against The University of North Carolina on January 16, 2013 (along with three other students) and co-founded the group End Rape on Campus.

“The Hunting Ground” also includes testimony from male victims of sexual assault. Producer Amy Ziering stated the filmmakers “felt it was important to show men and women. For men it’s often harder to speak up because there is a social stigma associated with rape. Many male victims were feeling ashamed.” The filmmakers also contend that most rapes are committed by a small number of repeat offenders. Director Kirby Dick stated that less than eight percent of the population is responsible for more than ninety percent of all sexual assaults. Producer Amy Ziering said that “our failure as a society to apprehend perpetrators leaves criminals at large who are savvy and experienced, and able to continue to commit these crimes with impunity.” On December 1, 2015, “The Hunting Ground” was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

For more information about AAUW, go to aauw.org or http://jamestown-ny.aauw.net.