The Hunting Ground documentary claims to show a shocking but accurate glimpse of sexual assault on American campuses. Documentaries, like studies, are often preludes to legislation. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is featured in the film, has introduced the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, a controversial bill that seems to marginalize police involvement in campus rape cases.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 15, 19 Harvard professors issued a joint press release, calling The Hunting Ground a "purported documentary that is propaganda and provides a seriously false picture . . . of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities. The professors are rallying behind their student, Brandon Winston, who was featured in the film and portrayed as a rapist and repeated predator. Having closely reviewed the evidence, the professors are certain of his innocence. So are investigative journalists like Emily Yoffe, who penned an expose of the case in Slate, How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth. A grand jury was also convinced and took the unusual step of refusing to indict Winston on the most serious charges; a jury found him "guilty" of a single nonsexual misdemeanor of "touching." The judge sentenced him to a brief probation.
The documentary is also inaccurate about two other featured women and their jarring stories of sexual assault, both of which have been discredited.
|Wendy McElroy is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. Her books include the Independent Institute volumes, Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century, and Freedom, Feminism, and the State.|
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