It Happened Here

It Happened Here – a 2014 documentary directed by Lisa F. Jackson. This movie is a story surrounding university/ college campuses by focusing on five female student survivors of sexual violence. It Happened Here exposes the conduct of the University of Connecticut and Amherst College. Their response of action focused on victim-blaming. These reports were swept aside due to reputation. As a result, these survivors came together to produce a federal case to fight for their injustice.

The Clery Act was implemented when a female student Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered at Lehigh University in 1986. All American Universities must comply with this Act. When a sexual violence case is reported, it is the university’s responsibility to document the report and course of action. Since these five women did not receive the support they needed, they realized that their schools did not comply with the law. Title IX was created to expose college/university campuses for not dealing with sexual violence. Women came forward and shared their stories. Now more than 90 schools are under investigation. Eventually, President Obama initiated a White House Task Force to strictly enforce laws to protect students from sexual violence on school campuses. 

When watching this film, I have to admit that in the beginning, I was triggered. These women were sharing their stories of what happened to them, and I had to pause the film to decide if I wanted to move forward. I eventually continued. I was appalled at the school’s response to sexual violence. Reporting an incident of sexual assault can do more harm than good. The exposure of the trauma and vulnerability that survivors must endure is humiliating. 

When watching this movie, I question, what rights do I have? You’d think I would already know; however, I have never been taught my basic human rights in all of my educational career. Am I conditioned to act in a certain way? It is now that I take feminist courses to gain an educated perspective that I learn I am worth so much more. 

A specific part of the movie triggered me. Heather MacDonald explained in the film that sexual assault culture arises in the ‘drunken-hookup party scene’ and further explains that women that insert themselves into those situations are putting themselves at risk. Therefore those women shouldn’t be drinking, wearing provocative clothing, etc.

Victim-blaming!!! Women should be free to go out and party if they desire! No one asks to get raped. There are not proper repercussions for people who perpetrate sexual violence. Therefore, if there is no proper punishment, sexual violence will remain normal for women. Let us oppress the problem by talking about the victim. Let me restrict myself, so I do not get put into this situation. It does not work like that. It should not work like that. There is no specific type of woman that gets raped. It happens to all kinds of people. We cannot put sexual violence in a box.

Please Watch It Happened Here. This film will give you a whole new perspective of the American justice system and its failure to protect violence against women.

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