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Monday, September 21, 2015

Because...Truth.

I just saw Lady Gaga's new video for Til It Happens To You. The song is part of the soundtrack to The Hunting Ground, which is an exposé of sexual assault on "U.S. [college] campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families." The video is jarring and honest in its approach to what has become an epidemic among female college students. As of today, one in every five college women is sexually assaulted while in college. That will persist unless something changes.

While the film and the video are important to the ongoing discourse about rape/sexual assault in this country, I want to broaden the lens just a bit. RAINN reports the following statistics as of today:

Every 107 seconds, another sexual assault occurs.

There is an average of 293K instances of sexual assault (victims 12 and older) each year.

44% of victims are under 18; 80 are under 30. 

68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. 

47% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance to the victim. 

[source]

Something has to change. Having worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and having dealt with it in my own life, I can honestly say something has to change but that's a song we've been singing for hundreds of years. I remain hopeful that projects like The Hunting Ground can achieve change little by little, but it has to be people outside of the choir picking up the song and passing on its importance. Victim blaming, cover-ups to protect college brands, etc. should have no place in this society or any other. Every ounce of advocacy you can muster towards stronger sentences and prevention is needed.  

The video for Til It Happens To You and the trailer for The Hunting Ground are below:

              

              

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