'The Hunting Ground': Sexual assault documentary wins prestigious award

Producer Amy Ziering says victim’s voices have been "ignored for too long"


Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 26 January 2016 16:40 GMT
Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick accept the award for 'The Hunting Ground'
Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick accept the award for 'The Hunting Ground' (Rex Features)

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A documentary on student campus sexual assault has won a prestigious Stanley Kramer award as producer says victims’ voices have been “ignored and disbelieved”.

The Producers Guild of America handed the award to "The Hunting Ground", a 2015 documentary that exposed so-called "rape culture" across student campuses in America.

“[We have seen the shift] from blaming the victim to the perpetrator,” said producer Amy Ziering in her acceptance speech. “We did this simply by telling some stories and sharing some voices that had been ignored for too long."

In autumn 2014, Ms Ziering interviewed a girl in Berkeley who had been assaulted. The girl was holding her childhood teddy bear.

“She was disbelieved, questioned and blamed,”said Ms Ziering.

“I started to cry and the girl asked me if I wanted to keep her bear,” she said.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted her support for Ms Ziering.

Ms Ziering said her and director Kirby Dick's research started in 2009. She found that 20% of US service members are sexually assaulted on American soil by fellow soldiers. The research expanded to expose a similar rape culture at colleges and universities.

Lady Gaga performed Oscar-nominated track "Til It Happens To You" at the awards ceremony and spoke of her experience of dealing with her sister's sexual assault.

On Monday Florida State University (FSU) reached a $950,000 settlement with Erica Kinsman, alleged rape victim of student football player Jamies Winston.

FSU released a statement to say they paid the settlement out of an “obligation” to taxpayers, and school president James Thrasher said if the trial had continued he was confident that Mr Winston would have been cleared.

“This room has tremendous power and with this power comes tremendous responsibility,”said Ms Ziering at the ceremony.

“[Let’s] wield it wisely, we don't really have time or luxury for anything else,” she added.

A petition called See Act Stop is aiming to raise awareness of the student rape culture in the US.

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