If you haven’t seen on the news lately or if you simply don’t pay attention, there have been news reports on women who have been raped more and more. These women face an enormous amount of backlash and ridicule for coming forward. I have never been a victim of sexual assault. I do know a few women who have been and there stories are horrible and inspiring at the same time.
With all of the recent events happening on the news I was curious about a documentary I kept seeing pop up on my Newsfeeds for Social Media. I do not have Netflix and since I am currently staying at my brother’s house while he is gone, I finally have a chance to watch it. The Hunting Ground is a CNN documentary about the stories and truths of Universities and Colleges around America and how they treat those who have been sexually assaulted and how they handle the situation in general. This documentary is very moving and very powerful and I recommend that you watch it if you have the chance, you need to see it.
When I see these women being attacked and ridiculed on this documentary alone I am saddened by how cruel people can be. I know we all have a mean side but some just are quick to judge a situation before even knowing the most basic of information. I have witnessed this.
A few years ago a young girl at my local high school came forward with information that a teacher was having a sexual relationship with a student. This was no rape, both parties consented however, the student is a minor and this makes it statutory rape. However, the story broke and of course my small town immediately went into a frenzy. A few hours later, the girl who was having the relationship and the one who notified the school of the situation were blasting over social media. I watched people say the most hateful and harmful things about her when they were defending the teacher. Now this wasn’t the first time something like this occurred (this took place a couple of years after I finished high school), when I was in high school there were rumors but nothing was ever for certain (especially since the teacher in question was married, not that it ever stops anyone).
I had very few interactions with this teacher in question. I had spoken with him a handful of times and I never had an issue with him or a class with him. I knew a lot of students liked him and took several questions with him. I watched these very same students ridiculed and spew horrid words against this girl defending the teacher. They believed she was lying and so was her friend and that his career was now ruined because of her. He was arrested and charge with the crime, so we know the police had enough evidence. I couldn’t stand watching these people, some of whom were friends, attack this girl. I finally had to say “This is why people do not come forward. This is why people blame themselves. This is why this issue is so great.” and various other things. At that moment they had to look at themselves and realize. I did not say the teacher was guilty (for that was up to the courts to decide) but I think they need to look at the bigger picture. I had several of them come back at me saying that I knew nothing of this teacher because I never took a class and I rightly fired back with that they were correct however, he would not have been arrested if there wasn’t some evidence. That gave them pause.
A few weeks later this teacher did admit his guilt and of course lost his teaching license and is now a sex offender. In the mean time, the girl who came forward, the girl who was having the relationship had to read all over social media what these people were saying. I was offended enough for them both and I hoped that the few of us who stood up to these people and told them, look at what you are doing and think for just one second on if this was you.
I share this story because as I’m watching The Hunting Ground and I’m hearing these survivors tell their stories and how people treated them, it brought that right back forward in my mind. I want to personally thank my old high school for not dismissing these charges and taking what was brought to their attention seriously. I can’t believe these Universities and Colleges would dismiss and pretend otherwise with this women. It’s not something you would expect or think but as this documentary goes on, you start to see the real truth.
That being said, the young man who raped a fellow student at Standford is still a soar subject with a lot of people. Many believe (myself included) that the young man was given a slap on the wrist because he was an athlete. He is not the first and I doubt he will be the last. There are several incidents as The Hunting Ground will tell you, how athletes are given special treatment (not that we didn’t already know this) and these type of charges are forced back onto the victim instead of the person being charged. And it doesn’t have to be an athlete, many women experience this while reporting a sexual assault on the campus.
The Hunting Ground brings forth a growing problem in the country and one that we can’t ignore. We have several issues that need to be addressed but this is definitely one of them. We need to end this. We need to hold these schools accountable. We need to make these victims feel comfortable coming forward. We have to take action. I give it 10 out of 10 stars.
You can help. You can do something. Below are a list of links that can help you provide help. Please take a moment to do this. Please make yourself part of a movement that needs to be addressed. It only takes a moment. It only takes one voice. You can do this.
How to Help: