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The Hunting Ground Premieres in Hawai'i
On April 16 and 17, 2015, Joyful Heart partnered with numerous organizations to sponsor two screenings of The Hunting Ground, a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on college campuses. Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are known for their powerful chronicles of sexual assault, such as the Oscar-nominated The Invisible War. In this gripping documentary they turn their attention to the issue of sexual violence on college campuses. Joyful Heart Board Member, Sukey Novagratz, a survivor of campus sexual assault herself, serves as an Executive Producer of The Hunting Ground.
The Hunting Ground’s Hawai‘i premiere was held at the Doris Duke Theatre as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) Spring Showcase on April 16, and a second screening was held at the popular The ARTS At Marks Garage in downtown Honolulu the next day. Over 400 people attended both screenings of the documentary.
Maile Zambuto, Joyful Heart CEO, reminded the audience of the urgency of the issue before the film began:
"In this country, every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. That’s over 100 individuals just in the time we share together to watch this movie tonight."
The statics she shared are mind-boggling; the National Institute of Justice estimates that 18 – 20 percent of women in higher educational institutions experience rape or attempted rape. Over eighty percent of the time the rapist is known to the victim, and the vast majority of cases are never reported to the police. And only about 1 in 5 survivors seek help from a victim services agency.
Both screenings concluded with an audience discussion to share reactions, reflections and ideas for engaging campuses.
"My hope is that all of us will be part of creating positive action to stop the epidemic of sexual violence on campuses, as well as across society, but in the brief time we have together tonight let’s start by sharing our reactions, reflecting on how we feel is an important first step in creating change."
- Kata Issari, Vice President, Hawai‘i Region, as she opened the conversation
Reactions were varied, but all agreed on the powerful impact of the movie and how it can serve as a catalyst to improve the situation on campuses. One attendee said, “As a parent and alumni of a college on the East Coast, I plan to let universities know that I want my child to go to a college that promotes transparency in information sharing. I want to know the real situation on campus.” Another person shared, “Everyone needs to see this movie—parents, university staff, faculty, alumni and the community—even entering freshman.”
A college professor shared that he plans to show this movie to all his classes in the coming semester. The person sitting next to him said, “This was a real eye opener for me, I was in a fraternity in college and although I know that there are a lot of good guys, I believe we have to engage men to hold each other accountable.”
The crowds on both nights participated in taking the Hawai‘i Says NO MORE Challenge and took home materials from Joyful Heart and our partner organizations. Many stated that the film opened their hearts to the hardships faced by survivors of sexual assault on college campuses.
We are grateful to all our partner organizations and those who attended the event. The full list of partners for the evenings includes Domestic Violence Action Center, Hawaii International Film Festival, Hawaii Women Lawyers, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Young Leaders, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Office of Gender Equity, the University of Hawai‘i and the YWCA of O‘ahu.