Extra: The Hunting Ground

April 26, 2015

I saw The Hunting Ground last night at the Loft in Tucson.* The director/documentarian is Kirby Dick, a former Tucsonan, and Emmy/Oscar nominee. The subject is sexual assault on college campuses.

The movie was deeply disturbing. It will surely affect anyone with a student in college or getting ready to go to college, but its audience should include anyone and everyone who cares about justice, and right and wrong.

The film’s primary theme is the lack of support from colleges and universities for victims. Frankly, the number of sexual assaults did not surprise me, and I was aware of a lack of support for victims on college and university campuses, but hearing the stories—from victims—and seeing reports about peer-reviewed studies, chilled me. We’re not doing right by our young people—mostly women, but men too—and this must stop.

Mr. Dick was present to introduce the film, and stayed for a post-film Q and A. The audience was mostly college students, there for free as guests of the Loft. (Kudos, too, to the James E. Rogers College of Law and several other university departments/offices, for sponsoring the film.) Listening to Mr. Dick and many activist students, told me people are on this, but that the problem is immense, it’s been developing for decades, and nothing major will happen quickly or easily. So my “this must stop” does not reflect any expectation that a solution will come soon; rather, it’s an expression of the need for an understanding of the problem, and a long-term commitment to solving it.

See this film, please, and share the story with others. In several of Mr. Dick’s answers, he noted the need for transparency. For those of us who do not run colleges and universities, teach at that level, work in law enforcement, etc., that means talking about the problem, and making it an important issue in our lives.

*For out-of-towners, the Loft is our first-rate indie movie house, and a place to which I do not go often enough.

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