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The Hunting Ground
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Hunting Ground is a searing documentary that examines the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses. Women (and a few men) detail their horrific experiences -- and their schools' incredibly, frustratingly tepid responses. The stories are detailed and graphic and often hard to hear. Any girl in college or nearing college age would do well to watch this, as should parents of both teen girls and boys. In addition to the pervasive topic of sexual violence, there's some brief profanity ("s--t" and "bitch") and many scenes showing college students getting drunk at parties, as well as references to victims being drugged.
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What's the story?
Almost 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while at college. Most of them never report it, and those who do often regret their choice. The perpetrators are rarely punished, while the survivors are often shamed -- or worse. THE HUNTING GROUND examines the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses and how the schools are motivated to protect the institutions rather than the victims. The movie argues that the situation was born from a toxic stew of alcohol, drugs, youth, and a culture of privilege -- and that it could continue to go unchecked as long as it remains hidden.
Is it any good?
This should be required viewing for any young woman embarking on a college career, any young man who wants to understand why women have a very different college experience, and all of their parents. This powerful documentary exposes the epidemic of rape at some of the nation's most revered educational institutions -- and what makes it even more potent is its focus on two women who took their harrowing experiences and turned them into a movement to help others in the same tragic position. Annie Clark and Andrea Pino deserve special praise, not only for being willing to share their experiences, but for their efforts in organizing fellow students to fight back -- and then taking that fight to campuses all over the country.
Director Kirby Dick covered similar territory in his Oscar-nominated film on rape culture in the U.S. military, The Invisible War, and here he's trying to shine a light on something else that has been hidden for far too long. He humanizes the statistics behind campus rape, making the victims' experiences into something that not only teaches but compels action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sexual violence. Why do you think it's so pervasive on college campuses? What can students -- male and female -- learn from watching The Hunting Ground?
What do you think about the ways the schools respond when women say they've been raped? In your mind, what should happen?
One person says that "alcohol is a weapon." What does that statement mean in the context of this movie? Do you agree? If so, is there a way to de-weaponize it?
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