'It Happened Here'
(DVD / NR / 2015 / Cinedigm Entertainment)
Overview: Through the intimate portraits of five student survivors, 'IT HAPPENED HERE' exposes the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, the institutional cover-ups and the failure to protect students, and follows their fight for accountability and change on campus and in federal court.
DVD Verdict: Directed by Lisa F. Jackson, 'It Happened Here - Stories of Sexual Abuse on Campus' sensitively introduces the public to the reality of these most horrid, and seemingly continual sexual assaults at our institutes of learning.
With an alarming number of sexual assaults also taking place in elementary, middle, and high school, this film should be screened widely at youth group meetings, at home, with friends, at community meetings, etc. to get the discussion going before kids hit college. BTW, the film's website actually has a discussion guide, so please, if you feel the need for yourself or someone close to you, go to it, use it.
Basically put, 'It Happened Here' is a feature length documentary about the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, of that you already know, but it also details (and follows) the impact on the student, their family and institution, and the burgeoning movement of student survivors coming forth and taking action against their schools on campus and in federal court.
'It Happened Here' renders a great service by gently introducing youth and families to what has been termed the civil rights issue of our time. The courageous young women who reported their assaults are an inspiration for other survivors to come forward.
This all said, and playing Devil's Advocate, last part of the documentary is a bit, well, clumsy for my liking. I honestly feel that it should have provided a bit more context to the lawsuits, and at least tried to hear the universities involved. It also seems the producers tried to fit too much into too little remaining time, but that is something that happens all the time. Regardless, 'It Happened Here' is compulsive viewing and director Lisa F. Jackson, who has been making documentary films for over 35 years, shines brightly here in her sequencing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
If You Need Help - resource websites and discussion guide
If You Want To Get Involved - It's On Us Website and Pledge Challenge