'The Hunting Ground' Documentary Review
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Angry Angry Angry “The Hunting Ground”

The documentary, aptly entitled “The Hunting Ground,” talks about rape in higher educational institutions. If you can name an Ivy league or well known college, it has more than likely been mentioned in this doc. Harvard and Florida State University figure prominently as do Cal State Berkley and Notre Dame.

This documentary is a part of CNN’s excellent documentary series which is often affiliated with HBO. “The Hunting Ground” features the story of Andrea Pino and Annie Clark who were both raped at different universities. These two lovely ladies not only lived through the attacks, but the constant criticism, threatening social network posts and inability to get anyone to do something about the crimes committed against them.

There are many other women and men who are also featured in this well made documentary.

It’s not possible for me to explain to you how horrible this situation is for the survivors of these sexual attacks. I must a link to  trailers from the film that might make you understand.

Trailers on YouTube. You can also watch the whole documentary there for $3.99. You can purchase the DVD from Amazon.com.

Where does my anger come from? Just the facts. The documentary goes deeply into the facts of how many women and men are raped in institutions of higher education. I have named some above, but that barely scratches the surface of this heinous situation that must be put to an end.

The statistics are spread all throughout “The Hunting Ground” and this is an excellent way to present the facts. It goes a long way to allow people to truly understand how prevalent this problem is in universities. It also shows that the statistics put out by these universities are flat out lies. The information in this film that horrifies me is that one in five woman are sexually assaulted. A small amount of these assaults are reported and an even smaller number result in punishment for the perpetrators.  Sickening.

There are some very brave women in this film. Woman who have gone on to help others and who have found ways to fight these huge institutions. I want to mention one who didn’t go on. Her name was Lizzy Seeberg. Her father is interviewed and told her story. It’s a familiar story, but still hard to listen to. It becomes even harder when you’re told that this beautiful young woman killed herself. She felt so hopeless, ashamed and helpless, (these are emotions I am assigning to her because we don’t know, but I think they are probably correct), that she felt she had to leave this earth.

Report after report come in about woman/men who are assaulted sexually and then left by the school and local law enforcement.  They have to try and get over the incident without help from anyone except their families. The film shows  survivors, Andrea Pino and Annie Clark helping these women who often call in the middle of the night for help.

One of the perpetrators who is featured is Florida State University star football player Jameis Winston. He is 6’4″ and weighs 227 lbs. He took a girl probably a hundred lbs lighter and much shorter in stature and raped her in a bathroom of his fraternity. What happened to him? Is he in jail? Is he out of football with no hope of ever playing professionally? Is he sad because he lost his chance at greatness? No, NO, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He is the youngest recipient of the coveted Heisman Trophy. He was a first round draft choice.

Allegations of sexual assault is not the only crime he committed (OK, may have committed although keep reading and you will find out that he did commit the rape).

This article from ESPN tells a story of a Winston that may be wonderful at football, but isn’t such an honest person. He reportedly stole crab and crawfish from a store, was caught with another player on campus with a BB gun shooting squirrels. Later that night he and his buddy did over $4K of damage to an apartment. The manager didn’t want to file charges. I wonder why.

In exciting and encouraging news, a woman who is featured in this film, who was attacked by the famous FSU quarterback, has won a large settlement from the school. Erica Kinsman was awarded $950,000 and the school must promote sexual assault awareness, transparency and prevention for five years. This award was just announced January of 2016.

Terra’s opinion

This documentary meets the test I always demand while I watch a documentary. I was educated, I learned something very important. It is sad and unforgivable for these universities that so many students aspire to would turn around and not protect them. It is shameful and must be stopped at all cost.

I think this film goes a long, long way to expose the ugly side of these colleges and universities. Some real progress has been made, but there is much work left to do.

This is actually one of the best made documentaries I’ve seen in a while and I watch a lot of documentaries. Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering did an amazing job.

I recommend this film be shown at your college or even high school, it’s that important. Check the official website and there is information there on how to book a screening.

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About The Author

Always interested in a good indie film, my taste run towards Horror and documentaries. Rom-coms are my least favorite genre, but I will always take a look for the better good of the site. I've reviewed films for seven years and want to do it for about 20 more...we will see.

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