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This powerful film explores the problem of rape on campus and how students--both males and females--can protect themselves. It also exposes how some universities have attempted to bury the number of reported sexual assaults and misrepresent the legal rights of victims. Over time, laws have been changed as a result of this documentary, the movement behind it, and its story of two University of North Carolina undergrads who discovered the legal protection afforded to all students under Title IX.
Another takeaway from the film is the importance of truly understanding the meaning of "consent." It's no longer just a matter of "no means no" but rather "yes means yes." On many campuses, legal consent constitutes having a discussion where both parties agree to a specific sexual activity. Colleges commonly have mandatory online sex ed courses for new students to explain this concept, but these programs are often seen by students as another box to check before day one and by universities as a legal hurdle to protect federal funding. This is also changing.
The movie has been shown on CNN, in theaters, and can now be streamed on Netflix. The value of viewing the film in a larger group is the ability to connect and discuss material afterword. To that end, The League of Women Voters will have professionals on hand to answer questions and lead a short conversation after.
The screening is free of charge and open to the community. It is appropriate for older high school students, and is recommended for seniors--many of whom will be off to college in a matter of months--and their parents. Common Sense Media age-rates the film at 15+ and says "The Hunting Ground should be required viewing for any young woman embarking on a college career, any young man who wants to understand why women have a very different college experience, and all of their parents." The hope is that The Hunting Ground will initiate communication that will inform our young people and keep them safe.
2. Encourage your local high school to incorporate CAASE's education program for young men.
3. Encourage local social service agencies to be trained on human trafficking. Information is available through The International Organization for Adolescents.
4. Support fundraising efforts of direct service organizations working against trafficking.
5. Monitor pending legislation on this issue. Tell your elected officials officials what you think.
6. Encourage law enforcement to screen prostituted people for trafficking and offer supportive services as an alternative to jail/arrest.
7. Encourage companies you do business with to create and enforce anti-slavery policies. For example, see the US Dept. of Labor's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
8. Support an individual victim by sponsoring a Salvation Army STOP-IT program client (contact info below).
9. Contact journalists to write stories on the issue.
10. Ask your local police what they are doing to combat human trafficking.
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph--located in La Grange Park, IL, offer volunteer opportunities www.csjoseph.org/trafficking.aspx
Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force 1-page Fact Sheet
End Demand Illinois Campaign--a program of CAASE, ability to sign up to receive action alerts www.enddemandillinois.org
The International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) www.iofa.org
The Polaris Project--confidential hotline to report trafficking, also other resources www.polarisproject.org
The Salvation Army STOP-IT program--note the wish list! www.sa-stopit.org
The Salvation Army has additional programs dealing with trafficking in Illinois and nationally. See them here