Sexual assaults on college campuses are increasing at an alarming speed.
If you haven’t noticed the countless “Timely Warning” flyers posted in dorms reporting assaults, then you are probably familiar with a PSUTXT alert the emergency system that notifies students through texts and emails of incidents such as traffic detours, weather warnings and probably most importantly, when a sexual assault occurs.
This isn’t something unique to Penn State. Campuses across the country are reporting an increased number of assaults on their campuses and their student bodies are calling for action.
The statistics are staggering: 80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows and freshmen and sophomores are victimized more than Juniors and Seniors. The biggest question asked by young college women is why isn’t more being done to bring perpetrators of rape and sexual assault to justice?
An answer to that question may come from the groundbreaking new documentary “The Hunting Ground,” directed by Kirby Dick, which is a look into women pursuing their education while simultaneously seeking justice for their various attacks.
Not only does the film get into the effects of assault on these women but also the scandal behind many of their attacks such as administrators trying to cover up assaults, reluctance to bring rapists to justice and even trying to undermine the ongoing investigations. Included in the film is the young woman attacked by famed Florida State football player Jameis Winston.
We sat down with Sean Toney, a film and video student, for his thoughts on not only “The Hunting Ground” but also about what the issue means to him. Toney commented on the fact that the act of sexual assault is not only awful, but that it also undermines victims’ feelings of safety.
“It’s a shame that not everyone can feel safe at this school. I think in this semester and last, there’s been more sexual assault alerts than there has been in my entire stay at Penn State,” he says. Toney sees the documentary as extremely relevant to a campus such as PSU that has so many sexual assaults reported weekly. He says it could be used to shed light on a subject that is otherwise not talked about.
Sexual assault is something no one should ever have to go through. It’s also something that shouldn’t be so hard to find justice in. Let’s increase the dialogue about sexual assault and remove the stigma.
The documentary, “The Hunting Ground”, is set to be released February 27, 2015.