It can be said that the topic of sexual violence on American campuses is not covered a long way in the framework of the cinema. Nevertheless, the documentary The Hunting Ground marked a milestone in this direction, served as a basis for public outcry, and brought attention to this important issue. It should be noted that in such high-profile films, the choice of their name is critical since it is necessary and competently to display their content and to attract the viewer. Below, the appropriacy of the mentioned movie’s title will be justified, as well as a number of possible alternatives suggested.
It seems reasonable to state that the film has quite a significant title that provokes the audience to watch it. Inductive reasoning that will appeal to empirical pieces of evidence will be given here to justify the latter claim. To begin, it would be rational to provide the background of the problem within the social and cinematographic scopes. In 1995, John Singleton’s feature film Higher Learning was released, in which the director talked about the various kinds of problems facing modern American universities, from racism to violence with the use of firearms. Unfortunately, Singleton’s work did not possess either social or cinematic value (Metacritic, n.d.). However, despite the failure, his movie did something that no other director had done before. Namely, it clearly stated the problem of rape on American university campuses. Although such crimes acquired the scale of an epidemic long before the release of John Singleton’s film, no one dared to pay attention to it. The same was in real life – only those who directly had to experience it and their loved ones knew about the existence of the problem.
However, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years, with more women trying to draw attention to the problem of rape committed on campus and the impunity of those who did this. Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick decided to meet with several female activists and help them create a comprehensive portrait of survivors of sexual abuse in college and obstacles emerging in their search for justice. In the film, the director uses statistics from various studies and involves experts who explore the issue. Behind each number are months of work by the best minds, and the viewer can always go back to the source that aligns with the actual findings in the area (AAUW, n.d.; Rainn, n.d.). Despite the fact that documentaries are akin to a person in court who is obliged to tell the truth, it is essential for the audience to understand where the information comes from. Dick’s The Hunting Ground has a clear empirical rationale as to why the title of his film is relevant.
At this point, it seems proper to appeal to deductive reasoning of the title’s appropriacy using ideological beliefs. Of course, in this kind of movie, it is necessary not only to outline the problem as a whole but also to give the viewer reasons to empathize. It is essential to touch the audience and make sure that the burning topic has a human face. In this, Dick and his team get help from the victims. They were happy to enter the college of their dreams before the nightmare happened to them. This is the story of the best minds who will probably never be the same and obsessed with paranoia and memories, if not for the rest of their lives, then for a very long time. In this vein, the director utilizes the ideological belief of educational establishments’ impeccable reputation and solidity (Dick, 2015). He shows them as haunting grounds where the raped ones pray, and the rapists (fraternities’ representatives) are hunters.
Nevertheless, it might be assumed that there are some convincing counterarguments that can appeal to faulty reasoning pertaining to the primary argument of the research. In particular, The Hunting Ground uses a metaphorical principle to reflect the film’s contents, and it was claimed that such an approach is suitable. However, it may be said that this metaphor, clearly stressing the commonness between hunting and raping, does not point out the field in which the stories take place – prestigious higher educational establishments. Hence, the title could sound like “Athena’s Naughtiness,” saving the metaphorical approach and emphasizing the interconnection between the educational area and cases of rape. Then, a possible alternative could be more specific, given the documentary genre – “Raping and Abusing in the US: Cases from the American Campuses.”
Still, it may be suggested that The Hunting Ground is not just a film but a whole social movement. This story does not finish with the end credits; on the contrary, it only begins with them. The foundations for social change have already been laid, but it will be years before the American university system will change to save hundreds of thousands of young lives (Cohen, 2021). These young people carry a potential that can be compromised overnight and then killed by a lack of justice that hurts even more than physical abuse.
Rainn. (n.d.). Campus sexual violence: Statistics. Web.
AAUW. (n.d.). An underreported problem: Campus sexual misconduct. Web.
Dick, K. (2015). The hunting ground [Film]. Chain Camera Pictures.
Cohen, K. (2021). Opinion: Here’s why college guys commit sexual assaults they don’t realize are assaults. The Washington Post. Web.
Metacritic. (n.d.). Higher learning. Web.