Monday, March 16, 2015

The Daily Beast on The Hunting Ground and the epidemic of campus rape

Lizzie Crocker for The Daily Beast wrote one of the more balanced reviews I've seen of the new documentary, The Hunting Ground, and asks if there really is an epidemic of campus rape:
While there is little dispute that sexual assault is being poorly handled by universities, not everyone agrees on how schools are attempting to remedy the situation. Many are concerned that the refurbished systems to adjudicate campus sexual assault are kangaroo courts, where the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent—even when there’s no evidence beyond he-said-she-said reports.

“The Hunting Ground” presents one side of this fraught debate, and a very powerful and disturbing one at that.

It features interviews with dozens of young women, and a few men, who recount horrifying details of their sexual assaults and subsequent lack of concern from school and law enforcement authorities. It does not feature testimony or representation from the victims’ alleged attackers, or any voice dissenting from the narrative focus that campus rape has become something of an epidemic, which is either being overlooked or appallingly dealt with by authorities.
Whatever your views, I think this is an important point to make, particularly coming from a leftist site, and one that often gets overlooked in particularly in a climate that says anything less than 100%, no questions asked, support for someone alleging rape is victim-blaming. Colleges have a terrible track record of trying to handle rape accusations internally, for both victim and accused who are often denied due process.

Also, I think the heavy media focus on campus rape affirms the not-so thinly veiled classism in discussion about rape. It sends a message about which women need protection, and which don't.