4 Sexual Assault Documentaries That Should Be Mandatory To Watch In College

Unless you’ve been living Walden style, technology-free in the depths of the forest for the past few months, you know that sexual assault on college campuses (and elsewhere) has been making headlines. From the It’s On Us viral campaign to the news media following rapist Brock Turner’s trial and subsequent (and very short) jail time, a problem that used to be hidden in the dark is now being brought to light. However, there’s a lot of information on sexual assault out there–stats, testimonies, laws, campaigns–and not all of it comes from trustworthy sources.

So, what’s a girl interested in educating herself on the issue to do? The answer to that question is the same solution I apply to most of my problems: watch Netflix. Here are some of the most informative and best-made documentaries on sexual assault that can keep you informed and give you resources when considering the very prevalent issue of sexual assault.

1. It Happened Here

The cinematic poster for
The cinematic poster for “It Happened Here”

This documentary, made famous the White House’s It’s On Us campaign, captures the stories of various college students who were sexually assaulted. While the documentary focuses mainly on the topic of college administrators and the deeply disturbing mishandling of sexual assault cases on campuses, the documentary also highlights the amazing response of the student body to a student who bravely shared her story in her school’s newspaper. This documentary is a good place to start if you want an overview on the problem of sexual assault on campuses and what movements are being launched to combat the issue.

2. The Invisible War

The cinematic poster for
The cinematic poster for “The Invisible War”

Similar to It Happened Here and The Hunting Ground, The Invisible War focuses on sexual assault in another learning environment: the military. Taking on a little-discussed topic that has a huge impact on some of our bravest men and women, The Invisible War interviews survivors and unpacks the deeply-rooted problem of sexual assault in our armed forces.

3. Hot Girls Wanted

The cinematic poster for
The cinematic poster for “Hot Girls Wanted”

Hot Girls Wanted differs from the other documentaries on this list because it discusses assault and abuse not in school or the military, but in the porn industry. The documentary follows a number of young girls who are just entering the profession of pornography, and the stories that unfold are touching and horrifying in equal measure. I actually had to take a break from the film about half-way through just to process everything I was learning, but I highly suggest watching the documentary if you want to know more about an industry that has far more abuse than meets the eye and  isn’t nearly as glamorous as it seems.

4. The Hunting Ground

The cinematic poster for
The cinematic poster for “The Hunting Ground”

This last documentary is one of my favorites because of its wide scope of information: The Hunting Ground investigates assault on college campuses all across the USA, interviewing both men and women who have experienced sexual assault and providing shocking national statistics that put the entire issue into focus. The Hunting Ground also explores what is being done to combat sexual abuse and assault, highlighting campaigns and other resources that are making a huge difference for students across the country.

So, next time you need to procrastinate writing a paper or finishing a project, do so with a little Netflix: you might learn more than you think.

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