There are conversations that are easy to have. There are conversations that are hard to have. The tough conversations are usually not fun, but guess what? They are almost always necessary. Take sexual assault for example. It’s a hard subject to talk about for people who have not been sexually assaulted. Now, think about the brave survivors — think about how hard it is for the them to talk about it. (Now pause in reading this to give them major kudos). These survivors know it’s necessary. It’s important. So they rise above, and they speak out. They’re speaking out for themselves, for their college communities, and I believe they are also speaking out for those sexual assault victims who are not yet able to talk about what happened to them. By sharing their stories in this documentary, they are letting other women and men know that they are not alone.
I have made a commitment to keep talking about the new documentary The Hunting Ground, and I will continue to do so. The more people talk about this, the more attention this topic will get, which I then hope turns into positive change and safer college environments. The Hunting Ground comes from Academy-Award nominated filmmakers of The Invisible War, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. It is a powerful documentary that focuses on the topic of sexual assault on college campuses, the coverups by college administrations, and what activists are doing to change the way colleges and universities are handling sexual assaults.
This film is close to my heart, as my sister Molly appears in it sharing part of her story. Our family has experienced such anger and heartbreak because of this issue. It’s terrible, and it’s happening everywhere. What these colleges and universities are doing is not fair, and it truly is time for people to step up and do the right thing.
Chances are, you know someone who has experienced sexual assault. Probably even more than one person. I know a few, and that’s only people who have shared their story. Think of those who maybe have never even talked about what happened to them. Sexual assault on college campuses is an epidemic and the madness needs to stop. Change can happen if people want it to. So lets show these institutions that this isn’t okay! Buy a ticket to the movie. Buy one for a friend. Post about the film on your social media accounts. Email your contacts. Spread the word to everyone and anyone.
I sat down with my sister Molly to ask her a few questions about her journey. We wanted to share more about her story to continue the conversation (below). Molly will be joining producer Amy Ziering tonight for a Q+A at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge following the 7:05 p.m. showing. Amy will also be doing a Q+A following the 7:05 p.m. showing tomorrow night as well.
Tickets are now available to purchase for The Hunting Ground at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge (you can purchase them here). Show times for this Friday, March 13 are: 11:10 a.m., 1:35 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:05 p.m., and 9:45 p.m. Tickets are also available to purchase for Saturday 3/14, Sunday 3/15, Monday 3/16, Tuesday 3/17, Wednesday 3/18, and Thursday 3/19. Show times are the same Friday-Thursday except there is no 1:35 p.m. on Saturday I believe.
The Hunting Ground has been showing in New York, Los Angeles, and also opens today in Berkeley, Pasadena, and San Francisco CA, as well as Washington D.C. and Canada. Please check The Hunting Ground’s website to see when it will be playing in your area. Or host a screening yourself!
MM: After reporting I felt unsupported and as though my claims were being questioned. As though I was the perpetrator in the crime as opposed to the victim. I felt like my claims weren’t taken seriously. And I really had to take the initiative to get my investigation going, because they weren’t proactive.
CT: What was it like telling us – Mom and Dad, and your siblings?
MM: It took me a while to kind of get up the courage to tell my family. I had to sit down with a counselor to write out a script. And I decided to tell our sister Megan first, and then have her help me in calling Mom and Dad and telling them and everyone else. It was really scary to make that first phone call because you don’t know what those emotions are going to be like on the other line. But I think after I spoke to Megan she made it a lot easier for me to call Mom and everyone else. And as soon as I called Mom and told her I felt ten times better because the next day she and Dad were on a plane to come see me. And then I almost felt bad for waiting to tell everyone. Because once I told everybody I got so much support. I didn’t feel as alone.
CT: You transferred to Merrimack College your second semester sophomore year. You loved your time at Merrimack. It must have been a tough decision to make – transferring. Looking back, would you do it again?
MM: It definitely was a hard decision to leave St. Mary’s because I loved it there and have amazing friends from there. Looking back I don’t know what my college experience would have been like without Merrimack. I got such incredible support there and I am very glad I transferred and experienced both schools.
CT: What made you participate in The Hunting Ground once you were asked?
MM: When I heard about The Hunting Ground, I first researched who Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick were and found that they had done work on The Invisible War movie. I had heard how great this movie was but hadn’t seen it yet. So I emailed Amy to say that I was interested, but wasn’t sure yet. Then I watched The Invisible War and thought, “I have to be a part of this”. I knew what Amy and Kirby were capable of and knew what conversation The Hunting Ground would start.
CT: I remember the day you went to LA to be interviewed for the film. Were you nervous? How were you feeling?
MM: When I went to do the interview I was living in San Diego at the time, so I drove up to LA the night before and woke up the next morning to drive up to Beverly Hills for the interview. I was very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew to show up to this house and bring a couple of different shirt options and filming would start. It was a bit terrifying. But once I got there and was introduced to Kirby, Amy, and the crew I was much more comfortable and knew this was going to be a good experience for me. When I met them I felt at home and comforted.
CT: What was it like – seeing this film for the first time?
MM: I saw this film for the first time out at Sundance and it was terrifying. I didn’t know where in the film I would appear and I found myself waiting to see my own face the entire time. But other than that, it was a moving experience to learn about all the other men and women survivors in the film and to hear their stories. It makes me feel like a part of a little family in a way. And the film really inspired me to take action and to become a part of the activism that these other survivors are a part of.
CT: Who do you think needs to see this film?
MM: I think this is a film that really everyone should see. Parents that have teenagers thinking about what college they are going to choose. Parents with kids already in college. I think it’s important for young men and women to see before heading to college. I think it’s important for college administrators to see also. I think the more people who see it, the longer the conversation will go and the louder the conversation will be and that’s the most important thing.
CT: Has this experience with The Hunting Ground helped you on your journey?
MM: I have found that telling my story has really helped in my personal healing process. I think it’s important for survivors to find an outlet, to get the opportunity to share their story. And for me to be able to share it amongst other survivors on a platform such as The Hunting Ground has been a very empowering experience. It has helped me own this experience; to own my assault as part of my story. To come to terms with the fact that this is a part of me, but it does not have to define me.
I love you, Molly! We are so proud of you, and we hope you know that.
We will be at 7:05 p.m. showing tonight. I hope to see you there! If you can’t make it tonight, I hope you get to see The Hunting Ground at another showing. Please share your thoughts on Facebook after you see it to help spread the word.
Also, please note that Lyft is offering free rides to see The Hunting Ground in Boston with promo code HUNTINGPREMIERE. And I’m offering two free tickets to the 7:05 p.m. showing tonight to the first person who tweets at @mamasdailycraic or emails me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
I’m so grateful for Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, the rest of their team, and of course the survivors in this film (and those interviewed who did not appear in the film) for making The Hunting Ground. It is very powerful; it will make you angry, sad, frustrated. Your heart will ache listening to these stories. But you will also feel inspired and motivated to turn that anger and sadness into something positive. Please check out The Hunting Ground on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Hashtags used: #HuntingGround #EndCampusRape #ItsOnUs #NoMore #NotAlone