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Can Tearjerking Doc “The Hunting Ground” Change Colleges’ Sexual Assault Policies?

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

At its Sundance premiere, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s “The Hunting Ground” was warmly received by its activist audience, who after the screening, pledged to help find ways to tackle the film’s main target: the epidemic of rape and sexual assaults that take place on college campuses around the country. The film repeats the statistic that 4-5 out of every female college student will be sexually assaulted. Much like “The Invisible War”–Dick and Ziering’s film about rape in the military, which helped institute changes in U.S. military policy–“The Hunting Ground” relies on emotional first-person testimony from dozens of women–the sheer number and weight of confessions becomes impossible to ignore, who speak not only about the horribleness of the assaults, but also the way in which college officials repeatedly try to suppress their reporting. 

But unlike “The Invisible War,” “The Hunting Ground” indicts multiple groups who are culpable: universities, fraternities, college sports teams, and local law enforcement. When TWC-RADiUS releases the film this March, an extraordinary amount of media fuss is likely to follow. One of the areas that news outlets are already focusing on, and which the film could impact, is an abandoned legal case against star FSU football player Jameis Winston. However, the filmmakers and their advocates will have a much tougher battle ahead this time, facing powerful universities, where money and prestige are at stake. 

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Comments

Joe

There is no rape culture. Rape is a sickening and illegal act but apparently there are some who want to return to the old fashioned lynch mob mentality when it comes to dealing with rapists.

Scratch that, they want to be able to lynch you for less than that, a mere accusation already ruins people before any kind of investigation these days.

Amelia

It reminds me of the Dark Ages, where people would accuse a woman of being a Witch and everybody would simply believe the accusation because of how horrible it would be if they were wrong.

Joe Britz

While rape is a horrible crime, it doesn’t mean we simply toss Blackstone out the window. The foundation of our justice system is innocent until proven guilty. By simply accepting the stories of the alleged victims, as true by default, we ignore the formula. Incidentally, college administrators shouldn’t be handling rape cases in the first place, the police should.

In simplified terms, after police investigate the alleged victim’s complaint, they turn the information over to the DA. The DA then goes to court to price first that a crime has been committed. The default proposition in a court of law is that NO crime has been committed. The reason for this is that it’s the first layer of innocent until proven guilty. Logically, if I (a civilian) claim that I have my own F22 Raptor at the airport, it’s up to me to prove it exists. You won’t take that at face value, nor should you. It’s up to me to prove it is true, just like the prosecutor must prove that a crime took place.

The next step of innocent until proven guilty is that the prosecutor, having established a crime took place, must prove the accused committed the crime. The standard for this isn’t a "preponderance of the evidence" (civil standard), nor does it require "absolute proof" (nice if you can, but not necessary), but "beyond a reasonable doubt".

Does this mean that it’s possible to prove a crime has taken place, but not convict someone? Yes, but we can’t just convict people in the court of public opinion. We did that in the 1980’s with the daycare child abuse hysteria, we shouldn’t be repeating it here. Yet, today it appears we are going down the same road. I wish we wouldn’t, the blowback will be terrible, and it will hurt everyone.

Tony

I saw this with my girlfriend. She was completely taken in by it. This movie is no better than a soap opera. Absolute drivel, pandering to emotion junkies. Getting their "feelings" fix from other peoples misfortunes. Empathy thriller for the indoctrinated only.

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