The 2016 Emmy nominations are out and “Til it Happens to You” is up for the “Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics” award. With this nomination, our song just made history as it became the first one ever to be nominated for an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar in the same awards year. Huge congratulations go out to our beloved partners Diane Warren and Lady Gaga for this incredible feat! We continue to be so grateful for the awareness, change, and hope that this song continues inspire. The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented September 18, 2016.
Sexual assault is happening on college campuses across this country. Studies done over the past two decades have all revealed that approximately 20% of female students will be sexually assaulted during their time at college. What can we do to help reduce this number?
One of the most important things we can do to reduce the incidence of sexual assault is to intervene on behalf of potential victims. Bystander intervention can take many forms and the most important element is to become highly aware of what’s happening around you. For example, if you’re at a party and overhear someone making comments about having sex with a very drunk person, take it seriously and try to get that person home safely. College students need to have each other’s backs and watch out for each other. Any comments you overhear about forcing someone to have sex or someone hoping to have sex with an incapacitated person should be taken seriously. Sexual assault is deadly serious and should never be joked about. As a bystander, always listen to your gut – if something seems off or worrisome, it probably is. Be the person who stands up for a fellow student and says “I got this.” Then help get that person somewhere safe.
Raising awareness about this problem is another way to work towards change. The more we open up on campuses and talk about sexual assault, the more likely victims are to feel safe to come forward. When we talk about it openly, we educate those who may be at risk in the future. Raising awareness can take so many forms – it could mean putting up flyers about the importance of bystander intervention or steps to helping someone intervene. Raising awareness could mean starting a support group for the victims of sexual assault. Another way to raise your voice could be to arrange for a screening of The Hunting Ground at your school. Think of creative ways to be part of the change movement. The more we raise our voices together, the more we can impact the number of assaults happening on campuses and elsewhere.
Since its premiere at Sundance 2015, The Hunting Ground film has shined a bright light on the epidemic of sexual assaults on American college campuses. It has given a voice to survivors, inspired significant legislation, and has spurred an unprecedented wave of activism to help put an end to this terrible, sexual violence. It has been both celebrated and vilified in the media and has created both a rape-prevention movement and backlash. The good news is, people are finally talking about campus rape; a topic that desperately needs to be discussed.
The Hunting Ground film was recently released for streaming through Netflix; making it available to a much wider audience. It is being screened at the White House, the Department of Justice, countless film festivals and college campuses around the world. It has moved public figures, such as Vice President Joe Biden, to force public discussion and inspire solutions. There is no doubt the film is making a powerful impact. And this week, film producers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering are taking things a giant step further with the release of their book: The Hunting Ground: The Inside Story of Sexual Assault on American College Campuses.
In this riveting companion volume to The Hunting Ground film, readers will encounter shocking personal stories that reveal just how much college administrators and law enforcement refuse to face this epidemic. It details how survivors have suffered thanks to cover-ups, fraternity culture and more. The book provides an inside perspective on the film including the controversy it spurred and the reactions of various writers and other individuals. This volume also offers insight into how we can learn more about the “rape culture” on college campuses and how we can be active in creating positive change.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) – there are an average of 293,066 victims of rape and sexual assault each year (age 12 or older). That number is staggering, however, sexual assault has actually fallen by 49% in recent years thanks, in part, to the awareness raised by organizations like RAINN and others. Sadly, we are a long way from eradicating this widespread problem. A sexual assault still occurs every two minutes in the US.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM – a month spent talking openly about the harsh reality of this epidemic. A month spent trying to chip away at the stigma still attached to rape. Victims of sexual assault face a wide variety of issues following their experience. Not only do they often feel unwilling to report their rape, but they are also very likely to experience mental health challenges, substance abuse issues and flashbacks to the attack.
The National Women’s Study recently produced dramatic confirmation of the mental health impact of rape. The study determined comparative rates of several mental health problems among rape victims and non-victims.
- Almost one-third (31%) of all rape victims developed PTSD sometime during their lifetime
- More than one in ten rape victims (11%) still has PTSD today
- Rape victims were 6.2 times more likely to develop PTSD than women who had never been victims of crime (31% vs 5%)
- 21% of all rape victims were experiencing a major depressive episode at the time of assessment (By contrast, only 10% of women never victimized by violent crime had ever had a major depressive episode; and only 6% had a major depressive episode when assessed.)
- Rape victims were 4.1 times more likely than non-crime victims to have contemplated suicide.
- Rape victims were 13 times more likely than non-crime victims to have attempted suicide (13% Vs 1%)
It’s these statistics that made us produce the groundbreaking, award-winning documentary The Hunting Ground about sexual assault on college campuses. You can do a lot to raise your own voice for the cause. Watch the film, share it with others using #TheHuntingGround, be ready to prevent a sexual assault before it happens, support organizations like RAINN and, most importantly, be willing to talk openly about the problem.
We want to be part of the much-needed movement to reverse these horrible statistics. We want to be part of the solution. We want to help prevent the pain and suffering of survivors and their families. We want to raise our voices for the cause.
Won’t you please raise yours with us?
We’re thrilled to learn that our “Til It Happens To You” video now exceeds 30 million views. The awareness it’s helping to raise regarding the very real the issue of campus sexual assault continues on! You can watch the PSA video here and you can now catch The Hunting Ground — the film that inspired it — on Netflix in the U.S.. Please tune in to demonstrate the growing public concern and demand institutions change their ways and put an end campus sexual assault.
Our song “Til It Happens To You” won the Best Song from a Movie category at The iHeartRadio Music Awards last night. We’re so proud and honored — and grateful for the awareness and change that this song continues inspire. Congratulations go out to Lady Gaga who performs the song — and to Diane Warren who, with Lady Gaga, co-wrote this powerful ballad for our 2015 documentary film The Hunting Ground. The song has helped give a voice to survivors all across the country.
We are thrilled to announce that The Hunting Ground is now available on Netflix in the U.S.! This platform makes it possible to reach an even wider audience with this important film.
In other news, we have a moving follow-up regarding the fifty courageous survivors who appeared on stage with Lady Gaga at the Oscars last month. Many of them have gone out and gotten matching permanent tattoos. Their symbols of solidarity — the Fire Rose Unity Survivor Tattoo — was designed by Stanford survivor Jacqueline Lin. Gaga herself even got the symbol inked on her shoulder. Click here to see some images.
For those of you who missed Lady Gaga’s heart-stopping performance at the Academy Awards, you can watch it here.
We also just learned that The Hunting Ground has been nominated for Best Documentary for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards! This year’s ceremony airs on April 10 at 8pm ET/PT and will be hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart.
At Graceful Light Entertainment, our mission is to shine a graceful light on dark places. Our goal is to uncover the difficult topics – the ugly truths no one wants to talk about – and get people talking. In fact, our hope is that those discussions turn into full-on movements for social change. We harness the power of exceptional art (including video, music and film) to inspire hope, create awareness of critical human issues and, ultimately, compel positive social action. Sparking positive social action is how society (and the world) heals.
We helped shine a graceful light on campus rape when our founder, Paul Blavin, became Executive Producer for The Hunting Ground (#thehuntingground) documentary. This film, from Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, is a shocking exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses rife with institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll rape takes both on victims and their families. The film follows rape survivors as they continue their college studies in the face of harassment and pushback.
Paul is also the Executive Producer of the film’s theme song and accompanying video – “Til It Happens to You” (#TIHTY). This moving Grammy-and-Oscar-nominated original song was written by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren and performed by Lady Gaga. The song has truly touched the hearts of survivors and their supporters worldwide and the video has exceeded 28 million views to date.
As we had hoped and intended, The Hunting Ground and Til it Happens to You has the world talking. The Hunting Ground Australia Project is using the film to engage Australian universities, and the broader community, in a unified campaign around sexual violence on Australian university campuses. Our hope is that this film’s message, and it’s growing social movement, spreads like wildfire all over the world. Only then will we have truly succeeded in our goal to create positive social change.
As a society, we have to start talking about the difficult topics. We have to stop avoiding the pain and ugliness that exists in the world so that we can shift things. We have to shine a light on the dark places so we can help people heal. Helping expose the truth about campus rape is just the beginning for us. We will continue our mission to use art to create awareness around critical human issues.
Clips of both The Hunting Ground and Lady Gaga’s Oscars performance were used as part of a new social action campaign called “#WomenNotObjects” — encouraging women to stand up against the objectification of women in advertising. Watch their powerful video and read about their campaign here.