Rape Survival Stories Stole the Scene at Sundance

by Holly Trantham


Think about the women you know in your life: How many have experienced rape or sexual assault? Since even one isn’t okay, odds are it’s a number way above the realm of acceptable. And that’s just the women whose stories you know.

An unusual but welcome creative combination graced the stage this weekend at Sundance Film Festival in the name of solidarity for survivors. The Hunting Ground, an exposé of rape crimes across American college campuses,premiered alongside the unveiling of The Monument Quilt, a collaborative project crowd-sourced with stories from rape and abuse survivors.

From the people behind 2011’s powerful The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground continues the development of recent stories surrounding campus rape—and its many years-long institutional mishandling. After Sundance, the film and quilt will travel across the country, ending in 2017 in D.C., where 6,000 fabric squares will spell out “NOT ALONE” on the lawn of the national mall.


The quilt’s objective? To shed light on the fact that, currently, 1 in 5 female undergraduates will be assaulted during their four years at college, and more often than not they are shamed or ignored rather than believed. Stories have been stitched, painted, and written onto red fabric; the squares showcase similar stories and sentiments, but each is individually important. It’s imperative to illustrate not only the horrifying crimes themselves, but also the fact that their occurrence is so widespread. 


While this project showcases the sad and absurd amount of rape happening across the country, the exposure can only mean good things for survivors of rape crimes and future rape prevention. It’s heartbreaking that we need this kind of art to exist, but since visibility is essential in replacing the current rape culture with a culture of consent, we’re hopeful it will lead to a lot of good. 

Images c/o Sundance

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.