The Hunting Ground

After screening the hunting ground, there were a few things that struck me.

One thing that both surprised and frustrated me was the lack of action taken by the colleges to punish sex offenders. This is an issue that I think many people are already well-aware of. However, the film’s use of personal interviews to propel the narrative really highlighted the extent of this problem. If we take a step back, its important to acknowledge that colleges are revenue-generating institutions; they are just like any other business. Its easy to view prestigious schools through a more naive lens, to assume that they will favor due process and punish those who harm others on their campuses. Unfortunately, because schools are economically-motivated, they have a vested interest in maintaining a favorable public image. This allows them to attract more students, and to appease parents who want the absolute best for their children. Each additional student will happily hand over an additional thirty to sixty thousand dollars a year for the opportunity to get a degree at a respected school. Clearly, many schools value the preservation of their public image more than they care about pursing legal action against sex offenders.

There are certainly inherent flaws within the system of higher-education. Its extremely difficult to combat these kinds of issues as long a colleges acts like any other business, which they will undoubtedly continue to do. Furthermore, like any illegal or deviant behavior, such as drug use and violence, sexual abuse has existed in human society for thousands of years. Just as schools cannot eradicate drinking or drug use, sexual abuse (which is a supremely atrocious activity) is hard to combat. Its nearly impossible to screen against abusive individuals before they decide to act. Just like with drug usage, motivated individuals will find a way to act upon their desires. We also know that the excessive partying and alcohol consumption on college campuses means that sexual crimes are easy to carry out.

I don’t really have any profound insights regarding the problem of sexual abuse on college campuses, other than acknowledging¬†that it is a serious issue, one which will take significant policy changes and systemic alterations to eradicate.

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