Hunting Ground Hypocrisy: Revisiting A Weinstein Company Film

Photo courtesy of Radius-TWC

A still from The Hunting Ground depicting a map of campus sexual assault nationwide.

Released in 2015, The Hunting Ground is a powerful documentary that portrays the shocking sexual-assault cases at campuses across the US and a collection of the horrifying experiences countless women had no other choice but to keep to themselves.

Although progress has been made regarding gender-based violence in the United States, it’s clear that only a few steps have been taken toward achieving a society that accepts women as equals. One of the most recent sexual-harassment scandals involves none other than Harvey Weinstein: a renowned film producer presented with countless awards for his work. Seventy-eight women have come forward and shared of their experiences with Weinstein, which range from sexual advances to rape.

Primarily, it is important to understand that both are equally terrifying, and in no way should the victim be held accountable. This is a weak link in the mindset of many people across the globe; the idea that the victim’s dress, actions prior to the instance, or miscommunication welcomed, even made justifiable, sexual harassment.

Not only unacceptable, this idea shows a clear lack of morality. How can one go on with their life knowing they have scarred another? Harvey Weinstein seemingly had no problem with this. In fact, accusations against him range from 1990-2015, illustrating that he felt little guilt regarding his actions. A man that is able to repeatedly assault women for three decades should be condemned for his actions. However, as a result of Weinstein’s great fame, he may escape unscathed. Though The Weinstein Company’s board has fired him in response to reports of sexual harassment against him, it is clear that Harvey still holds a tremendous amount of influence in the world. After all, he was successful in harassing these women by wielding his power and threatening to destruct their futures.

In 2015, Lauren O’Connor, a former employee of the Weinstein Company and victim of Weinstein, wrote a memoir detailing the various incidents she witnessed in which he coerced women. “I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career,” O’Connor wrote. “Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.” Evidently, Weinstein’s authority and stature allowed him to take advantage of vulnerable women.

This same year, Weinstein’s company produced The Hunting Ground, an act of hypocrisy that I will never forget. How is it that a malicious predator was raising awareness about sexual misconduct while contributing to the problem so severely? The primary goal of the documentary is to call attention to men’s abuse of power, while Harvey Weinstein is one of the greatest perpetrators of this offense.

The Hunting Ground begins with a series of videos featuring students’ unleashed joy at being accepted into numerous colleges. It focused upon their happiness of beginning a new journey, one in which would bring opportunity and learning to their lives. However, their dream-turned-reality soon took a cruel turn after being sexually assaulted.

Weinstein essentially did the same thing in his workplace: he tempted employees with the promise of a career, of a world of greatness more splendid than could ever be imagined, only to scar these women with an incident that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

It is essential that the world takes a stand against gender-based violence, and soon. In my eyes, we will not just be lowering the cases of sexual assault, but lessening the number of women whose lives are torn apart.

 

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