The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground

On Thursday February 7th, seniors at New Trier High School will gather to watch “The Hunting Ground” – a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. A notice has already gone out to all parents; and students are given the option to opt out if needed.   This film is informative yet startling as it chronicles stories of men and women who were sexually assaulted on college campuses and the lack of support they received from the administrations. Survivors banned together to create change at their universities and then grow to create policy change regarding college campuses and their responsibility to report these assaults through Title IX.  Discussing sexual assault (or even sex in general) can be uncomfortable for parents and teens. We’ve created a brief guide of information to know about the documentary and discussion tips for you and your soon-to-be graduate.

What is Sexual Assault?

Webster’s Dictionary defines Sexual Assault “as illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (because of age or physical or mental incapacity)…”

Sexual Assault does not only refer to sex it includes any unwanted/forceful contact that is sexual in nature.

Can We Prevent Sexual Assault?::

There are steps you can take to increase safety, but we cannot eliminate the possibility that it could happen.  Examples and strategies to increase safety are available HERE.

What Parents Need to Know::

-College may not be the first time your child has experienced or knows someone who has experienced Sexual Assault/forced sexual behavior.  In fact, 16-19 year-old females are 4x more likely to experience sexual assault than the general population.

– Sexual Assault happens to both men and women. Individuals in the LGBTQ community are at a higher risk.

-Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.

– Sexual Assault is underreported.  The picture below shows concerning stats:

What Your Teen Needs to Know::

-If you are Sexually Assaulted, it is never your fault.

-Even if you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, sexual assault is not your fault, and it is unacceptable.

-We believe you.  We will support you.

-Be an ally – if you see something, say something

-If something feels wrong, leave.  Trust your instincts.

-If a sexual partner changes their mind, immediately stop.

-If a sexual partner is not able to say ‘no,’ they are not able to say ‘yes.’

-It is never acceptable to pressure another individual to engage in sexual acts.

Discussion with your Teen:

You might be thinking, “Yikes! How do I even have this conversation with my teenager?”  You are not alone! It can be a challenge to have a distraction free, open and meaningful conversation with your teenager.  It could even be impossible, so don’t make that your goal. Go into this conversation with a simple goal: My teen will know I value them and that I am open to tough conversations.”  Use these tips:

  1. Give them a heads up – “I know you’re watching that documentary in school today, I think it’s a good idea that we talk about it, when is a good time for you?”
  2. Try to have the conversation 1-1 without siblings around – go out for a walk, coffee or dinner, if you can.
  3. Stop Talking! Do you want your teen to share? Ask a question and then listen well.  See how little you can talk!

Conversation Guide

What was your experience like watching the documentary today? How about in your group discussion afterward? How would you modify the experience?

How does this film impact your thoughts/opinions about going off to college?

What is helpful to watch this film? Are there other people that you think should watch the Hunting Ground?

What has your experience with/information about Sexual Assault been before watching the video? Do you want more information?

What is your safety strategy to increase safety for yourself and your friends?

Let’s look up the campus safety strategies for the school you’re going to attend.  (Be on the lookout for safe ride programs, advocacy groups, visitor policies etc)

More Information ::

National Sexual Violence Resource Center


The Hunting Ground

Video about Consent

Where can you watch this documentary?

Netflix ::

Stay tuned for Haven’s next blog post on about “How to Talk to Your Kids about Dating.”